Étoile Filante IV 5.11c, 300m, South face of Asgard peak, Valhallas

on Sep 15, 2011

Cam Shute and I returned to beautiful Mulvey Basin in Valhalla Provincial Park this past July and completed a new route on the South Face of Asgard Peak. Our cumulative efforts spread over two years along with an evolving vision resulted in a new independent line on the right side of the South Face. Click here for more info.

Étoile Filante IV 5.11c, 300m, South Face of Asgard Peak

F.A. David Lussier and Cam Shute, July 2011

 

The story behind the line

The South Face of Asgard has attracted climbers for almost 40 years. The first route up this sheer featured wall, the “Center Route IV 5.8”, was climbed by Valhalla pioneers Peter Koedt, Peter Rowat along with Greg Shannon in 1973.  Peter Koedt returned to Asgard a few years later, in 1975, to climb the “Left-Center Route IV 5.8” with James Hamelin and Jara Popelkova. These two traditional routes follow the most dominant features on the face and continue to challenge climbers to this day. They offer varied climbing (cracks, flakes & chicken heads) with interesting route finding along with sustain difficulty. Up until now these where the only established routes on the south face.

The vision of a new route on this face has been shared by many over the years. From various trips in Mulvey Basin over the years, I had always been interested by the complexity of the upper right side of the wall. It wasn’t until July 2010 that Cam Shute and I ventured into Mulvey with the intention of exploring that potential. Due to the disconnected nature of the crack systems, some blank looking section and the steepness of the wall, we decided to bring a hammer drill along with some bolts. This exploratory trip, culminating with a high point somewhere half way up the steep upper right wall, revealed potential for a great line on featured but compact rock. We were already planing our return.

Our vision evolved some more before we returned in July 2011. With a greater knowledge about the nature of the rock and the various line options we decided to bring the drill back. We were considering bolting an interesting looking blank arête to help straighten the lower part of the route and also using bolts for adequate protection on the upper compact wall. If the route turned out to be good quality, we also contemplated bolting the belays to facilitate rappelling. All of this would of course be done while climbing from the bottom. We were very excited about possibly finishing the route.

 

The end result was greater than anticipated. The vision, our skills and luck combined with our commitment allowed us to complete a new modern mix/trad route up the beautiful right side of the South Face. A lot of the visioning and actual route location decisions beautifully came together over the 4 days Cam and I were working on the wall. The climbing on the direct arête lower down (pitch 2) was challenging and quality while providing a more direct line. The intricacy of the steep upper wall revealed themselves after a few days of committing route finding on the sharp end. In someways the route revealed itself and we basically connected the dots. Completing it was very satisfying but putting the puzzle together was the best part. We really hope that others get to enjoy this quality and modern alpine rock route, feel free to download the topo and route description just below.

Access & Description.pdf                            Topo.pdf                                    Photo.pdf


Thanks again Cam for such a fun adventure, it was a pleasure new routing with you!

Name background

“Étoile Filante” is french for “Shooting Star”. The name choice comes as a tribute to Valhalla pioneer Peter Koedt who sadly passed away in the Fall of 2010. The inspiration for the name comes from the song “Étoile Filante” by “Les Cowboy Fringant”. This beautiful song compares each human’s life existence, turmoils, successes and absurdity to the passage of a shooting star. We feel Peter was a visionary climber who put lots of skills and creativity amongst the Valhalla peaks. We will remember his passage and contribution as a brilliant shooting star.

Enjoy the photos…


Hiking into Mulvey with a little bit of fresh snow on the ground

Our Mulvey basin camp showing plenty of lingering winter snow. More like June than July!

Getting back on the route (1st pitch) in July 2011. Still a little bit wet

Investigating the the fine arête on pitch 2

Bolting the 5.10d crux on pitch 2

Cam later sending the arête on pitch 2

Cam following the long and wandering pitch 3

Cam following nice clean cracks on pitch 4

Cam leading some fine steepening stone on pitch 5

Cam excited to find some good holds at the roof on pitch 5

Engaging in the complexity of the sustain pitch 6

Increasing exposure! Cam following pitch 6

Cam climbing wild chicken-heads near the top of pitch 6

Approaching the crux on pitch 7th

Cam climbing the last few moves of the last pitch, excited about completing the route

Cam near the summit enjoying a fine view of Mulvey Basin

Cam’s rockshoe was badly chewed by a rat at the base of the route overnight. He still managed to do the final ascent with it!

The line

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