Guinness Stout is another of the famous beer climbs found in Yoho National Park above Field British Columbia on Mount Dennis. This grade 4+ ice climb is approximately 90 metres high and must be climbed in two pitches. The climb is in a fantastic setting, high on Mount Dennis, and the ice is normally very good. As do all of the climbs on Mount Dennis, Stout has significant avalanche hazard.
There is another climb called High Test immediately to the right of Guinness Stout and it is reached via the same approach and can be climbed in the same day. It is slightly easier than Stout, but still grade 4.
This is the top pitch of Guinness Gully - this climb must first be climbed in order to reach Guinness Stout.
Stout is reached by first climbing “Guinness Gully”, one of the most popular climbs in the Field area – see Dow’s Guinness Gully
and Beer Climbs
page for full details. Once at the top of pitch 3 of Guinness Gully, rather than descending on climber’s right, continue up the same gully for another 45-60 minutes depending on conditions. Hopefully, someone will already have broken the trail for you. This gully also contains avalanche hazard – none of the beer climbs should be attempted in high avalanche conditions; in fact, in conditions such as these, the approach road may be closed for avalanche control.
Guinness Stout consists of a very wide ice flow, approximately 90 metres high. The first pitch is grade 3 consisting of rolling ice with short steeper sections. This pitch is about 45 metres long. The belay can be set up on ice anywhere on the large bench that separates the first and the second pitches, depending on which line the leader takes for the second pitch.
The second pitch is the grade 4 crux. It can be climbed on one of three or four entirely separate lines due to its width. No line is easier than grade 4, with some of steeper options being nearer to grade 5 level. The Joe Josephson Guidebook “Waterfall Ice” grades the pitch as 4+. The second pitch is a full 50 metres in length, with the crux coming in the middle 25 metres of the wall.
The top crux pitch of Guinness Stout
The climb can be rappelled with two ropes from trees at the top. Alternately, one can traverse right and rappel using one rope from trees to the left of High Test. When we climbed it, there was no trail over to High Test and there was about three feet of deep wet snow making any bushwhacking extremely slow and tiring. We rappelled the route with one rope on climbers left – it took us three rappels and some fancy downclimbing to reach the bottom.
The route can be climbed with one 60 metre rope, but it is easier to get down if you have two 60 metres ropes. A typical rack of 8-10 ice screws is also required.