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Devil's Punchbowl 

WI4

   
Type:  Ice, 3 pitches, 300', Grade IV
Original: WI4 [details]
FA: 
Season: Winter
Page Views: 51
Submitted By: Karl Henize on Jan 28, 2017

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Description 

Devil’s Punchbowl is quite remote even by North Ghost standards, thus the IV rating in Joe Josephson’s guide book, “Waterfall Ice- Climbs in the Canadian Rockies”. It would make little sense to climb Devil’s Punchbowl without completing Beowulf which is a longer and more interesting objective. The first four pitches of Beowulf are required to even get to the start of the approach for Devil’s Punchbowl. These options are all single pitch.

1st Pitch/60m- Many climb this section as two pitches, but it is easily done as one. Climb the first step (WI 3) left of center and walk to the base of the real falls. This is a WI 4 30m beauty. The left side was better ice but less steeply angled than the right. The right side was more challenging, but was quite wet and chandeliery. I started right, but soon, detoured left and then back to the center towards the end of this pitch. There is a chain anchor on the right as you top out. This can be a very cold belay, so make sure to pack your down on lead. Also beware of falling rock whose fall line appears to be the left side, another reason for taking the more challenging line to the right if the ice is in better shape.

Middle Pitches- The middle ground involves quite a bit of hiking on ice. You will run into two falls worth pitching out, but could be soloed as well. Neither are above WI 3.

Devil’s Punchbowl/40m- Eventually you come to a short waterfall step ahead and to the right as the canyon narrows (two odd bird nests in the canyon wall on your right- photos on Beowulf’s page). To your left is a 60m tall waterfall of WI 4 broken up by a few steps. This is the finish of Beowulf. Continue beyond this ice up the short step to the right and trudge up canyon for approximately 20-30 minutes until the canyon walls give way to a broad open fork. Take the left fork and hike 10 minutes through possibly deep snow to two perpendicular ice curtains. The curtain on the left is WI 2 and the one on the right is more WI 4. I chose a decent line up the mid section of the right curtain at WI 4. It is separated by one rest and then nice and steep for the finish. Once you crest the curtain, the ice can be somewhat questionable.

Location 

When arriving at the base of the final two pitches to Beowulf, there is a small vertical ice step to ascend and then a trudge up canyon for 20-30 minutes until it opens completely up. Take the left fork and you are 10 minutes away from Devil’s Punchbowl. Two perpendicular curtains offer easy WI 2 ice to the left and WI 4 ice to the right.

Unlike Valley of the Birds and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (GBU), Beowulf, and even more to such extent Devil’s Punchbowl, see considerably less traffic. Part of this remoteness has recently been enhanced over new rules regarding how far you can 4-wheel drive it back along the Ghost River. Due to protected trout populations, the provincial government has limited access beyond the first river crossing which makes for quite the long day including a long hike in, long climb, descent and long hike out. Devil’s Punchbowl and Beowulf are definitely more of an alpine IV adventure considering this extra trek.

Protection 

Ice screws, v-threads, and trees.


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