The First Ascent of Interstellar Spice (WI12)
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Helmcken Falls first came into the spotlight in 2010 when Tim Emmett and Will Gadd climbed Spray On, grading it WI10. There had not yet been a WI8 or WI9. Since then it’s been the place to go for boundary-pushing ice. The reason for this is the area’s topography. Helmcken Falls itself doesn’t freeze. Instead, wind blows water from the 460-foot flow into a cave behind it, where it freezes to the rock creating spray ice. The result is routes that are not just long, but extremely steep. Because the spray ice is unstable, and the rock behind it lacks cracks, all the routes here are protected with bolts.
In February 2016, Tim Emmett and Klemen Premrl pushed the boundaries at Helmcken once again, climbing a new 260-foot line that’s about 100-feet overhung, and grading it WI12. The team used a custom 200-meter rope for the ascent.