I snowshoed into the CWM today with Pete and Iris to aid climb Neruda and perhaps ice climb on Spindrift wall. The hike in was a bit tricky in places with Friday's fresh snow hiding numerous icy patches near the end of the approach.
Breaking a fresh path up to the CWM under a warm sun made for a fantastic start to the day. It was
-13 C when we left Ottawa but it felt plenty warm by the time we arrived at Cave Wall. Without the leaves on the trees, Cave Wall sucks up the sunshine; warming the rock. It is a magical spot really. It was at that point I decided to just free climb Neruda.
Pulling on a pair of 5.10 Spires, that I can wear with socks, I started up Neruda placing the usual cams. The crux and mantle onto the ledge was complicated by ice and snow. I placed some extra gear here. It was at this point I noticed the top out and anchors were buried in snow.
After putting on my gloves I started up the final layback until I could get locked off on my left and clear snow with my right. Stepping up onto the snowy slab in rock shoes was interesting and a bit unnerving. Once I had committed to the slab I still had to dig for the anchors; it was good to clip them.
With Neruda checked off Pete turned his attention to Spindrift and although there seemed to be lots of ice at first glance, we decided it was not safe enough for us to climb. Most of the ice was thin, cauliflowered and not thick enough for Pete's longer ice screws. I think it was the right decision to walk away.