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The Sorcerer 


Type:  Trad, Ice, 4 pitches, 700', Grade IV
Original: WI5 [details]
FA: Kevin Doyle, Iain Stewart-Patterson Feb 1983
Page Views: 1,794
Submitted By: Dave Rone on Oct 17, 2011

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Pitch 3. Photo: Dave Rone


A beautiful, remote route in an incredible setting! The Sorcerer pours down the back of a canyon surrounded by big walls on all sides.

Pitch 1: Climb moderate ice to a short, steep pillar and then follow narrowing ice up and right to the first belay (bolts).

Pitch 2: A short pitch of snow and easy ice leads to a comfortable belay ledge on the right, at the base of the main column.

Pitch 3: Move left from the belay and climb excellent, steep ice to the large cave on the right (bolts)

Pitch 4: Traverse left out of the cave on vertical to slightly overhanging ice (crux) and climb a long pitch on ice that eases off as you get higher.

Pitch 5: (Optional), a short, easy pitch leads to the top.

Get an early start, you don't want to be the second party to show up! Anything that comes off is funneled all the way down the route. Being 10 minutes late can cost you 3 hours! (my experience)

Descent: 3 rappels (70m ropes)

Rappel #1: From v-threads or a small tree on the climbers right to the bolts in big cave.

#2: From the cave to the base of the snow ledge, new bolts on the climbers right. An old shitty bolt with tat is on the left.

#3: To the base.

A linkup of Hydrophobia with The Sorcerer is a really cool day. We (Jon Jugenheimer and I) approached from the N. Ghost and bivied beneath The Sorcerer. From the top of The Sorcerer, follow the drainage straight up to the ridge. Traverse the ridge to the next major drainage that goes down right, before an obvious high-point on the ridge. Shortly after starting down the drainage, contour down and around to the north (don't descend it all the way like we did), and you will access the Hydro drainage about 140m above the top of the route.

If you climb Hydro first, traverse the scree slope upward to the left to gain the ridge, and then The Sorcerer drainage shortly thereafter. We made a video of our day, check it out.


Most parties approach from the North Ghost, but the route actually lies to the north, in the Johnson Creek drainage.

After descending the Big Hill, drive to the North Ghost and park just past Sentinal Crag. Hike the old road north (Bastion Wall to the left) until you come to the north end of the first Johnson Lake. Take the flagged trail down left from the road and through trees until you enter the Sorcerer drainage. 1.5 to 2 hours in good conditions.

You can also approach via Waiparous Creek, hiking past Hydrophobia to The Sorcerer drainage. This approach can take 2.5 - 3 hours. Check out the link below from Gravsports for more info.


Protection is screws, belays are bolted. There are no bolts at the top so bring cord for v-threads.

Photos of The Sorcerer Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Black Rock Mountain and the second Johnson Lake, f...
Black Rock Mountain and the second Johnson Lake, f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of the 4th pitch.  Photo:  Wes Bender.
Start of the 4th pitch. Photo: Wes Bender.
Rock Climbing Photo: Wes Bender starting up the first pitch.  Photo:  D...
Wes Bender starting up the first pitch. Photo: D...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Sorcerer.  Photo:  Dave Rone
BETA PHOTO: The Sorcerer. Photo: Dave Rone

Comments on The Sorcerer Add Comment
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By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 20, 2014

Here are notes from my ascent in 1996:
"2/11 long day on the Sorcerer (WI5, 4 pitches): leave Canmore Hostel 6AM, leave car 8:30, start first ice lead after much post-holing 12:00, top out 6:00, back to car 10:40, get stuck 11:00, get stuck 11:30, nearly hit moose 12:30, reach hostel 2:00AM!"

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