Weathering Heights, Anorexia Nervosa and the Peanut Gallery are all WI 4 climbs that make up the three main waterfall ice routes of Planters Valley in the south ghost to the south of Devil’s Gap. Weathering Heights and Anorexia Nervosa are directly across from each other as you make your way up Planters Valley and its canyon walls start to get steeper, thus forming the waterfall ice.
From the trailhead parking area at the Banff National Park boundary, follow the old road path west and venture left into the first canyon to the south. Gain elevation for about one hour up the dry creek bed that is Planters Valley.
Weathering Heights is comprised of two full pitches (55m each). The first pitch, from a distance, (photo) always has the look of a mixed start. However, once you ascend the steep loose gully below it, it becomes obvious that the start is much easier then it looks from afar. This is a popular south Ghost route and can be quite picked out by February most years. That is the condition we found it in February, 2007.
Route Description1st Pitch/55m- Start right on easy ice and move back center, right and then left again to maneuver above protruding rocks separating the falls. Obviously the condition of these falls could vary drastically from year to year. The crux and steepest ice is 30-40 meters up below the before mentioned rock buttress. We went left for the final 10 meters, but it goes right as well, just steeper. The route eases after this steep section and you should find a reasonably comfortable, albeit small, belay stance at about 55 meters.
2nd Pitch/55m- The second pitch is an uneventful WI 3 pitch that is broken up after approximately 25 meters by a large bench. You can stop here or continue for the final curtain which offers another 10 meters of climbing. Once above this final portion, there are a variety of trees to use for your first rappel (several rap slings on different trees in 2007).
Rap back to your first belay and set up an abalokov if bomber ones do not already exists. This route is climbed so often, that we used several existing abalokovs for pro for the climb and did not have to build any belay or rap station ourselves.
Essential GearTwo Ice Tools, Double 60 meter Ropes, 10-12 Ice Screws with draws and/or screamers (couple of short ones for the start possibly), Crampons, Helmet, Warm Clothes (Planters Valley is guaranteed to be quite a bit colder than most of the other climbing areas in the south Ghost), Full Shank Boots, 4W Drive (Preferable), Shovel and Sleeping Bag, the Ghost can be full of surprises, particulary in February where the drifts have started to accumulate. Many climbers end up parking short of the trail head. We made it all the way in this trip with our FJ Cruiser. Poles are real handy for Planters Valley because the ascent involves a rocky creek bed with the voids full of snow. In other words you can stumble around quite a bit. Snowshoes might even be helpful if there is an unusual amount of snow filling this creek bed.
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