Canada Sees New Five-Pitch M11


Nophobia (M11) goes up five pitches in this massive cave. Photo by Will Gadd/Courtesy La Sportiva

1/15/13 - A four-year-old mixed project in the Ghost area in Alberta, Canada, went down on January 10 by Will Mayo, Pat Delaney, John Freeman, and Will Gadd: Nophobia (M11). "We all agreed that the FA would be for all of us; who redpointed it first was irrelevant," Gadd said in an email. "But two of us ultimately climbed it bottom to top no falls."

Mayo and Delaney were the main developers, and began working the route in 2009, which was no easy task. The driving approach requires a 4x4 vehicle, and from the parking there's an hour-long hike. The 450-foot-long route itself goes up a massive cave for five pitches through sections of limestone pods, with 150 feet of overhanging dry-tooling to a final ice section. "It's huge," Gadd said. "The scale of work required to get something like this done is just way off the chart of acceptable for most people." Mayo committed the most time to the project, making around a dozen trips to the cave.

Pitch two had "the single best dry-tooling... I've ever done," Gadd said. "The grading system in North America is pretty random and open to discussion... [But] It's pretty damn hard and very cool."

Gadd reports that there aren't any other projects near Nophobia currently, but that "the potential is awesome and immense" in the area.

Date of ascent: January 10, 2013

Source: Will Gadd