Just to the left of GBU (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly)
is an aesthetic waterfall pouring out of the rock above forming the route “Indifferent”. Although not as challenging as most of the ice to the right of GBU Mixed
, Indifferent is a worthwhile waterfall for the grade. Cross the river and angle left up the lower icy slope until you reach a flat spot just below the waterfall. I put my crampons on just above a large tree on the left. The belay can best be set up via screws into the icy floor to the left near the rock for protection of falling ice.
The line we chose was slightly to the right of center. As any good WI 3 ice should offer, there are several good rest spots splitting up 2-3 decent, but short, steep sections. There is considerable tat (chains in fact as I recall) wrapped around a tree above for the rappel. We took turns on lead, so I don’t know if it “top ropes” with a 70m rope or not. It is written up in Joe’s book as 40m so I assume it does not. Nice route and good ice in January, 2008.
Pair of tools, crampons, 6-8 screws and draws/screamers, helmet, 4W Drive (pretty much a must to travel far in the North Ghost), Shovel and Sleeping Bag, the Ghost can be full of surprises, particularly in January where the drifts have started to accumulate. Many climbers end up parking short of the Valley of the Birds and there is currently (2007) a ban on the river crossings (by vehicle). Poles and a possible 2nd pair of boots are handy for several river crossings you will have to make on foot if no access by vehicle.
From Calgary or Canmore, access 1A which parallels the TransCanada to the north. 13.4kms west of the Hwy 22 junction in Cochrane is the Forestry Trunk Road
(Route 940). Turn north on the Forestry Trunk Road for 23kms to a gated gravel road on your left. There is a trail head information kiosk board here, but no obvious sign
. If you find the gate closed, it is imperative that you close the gate behind you. Most climbers only take 4-wheel drive vehicles beyond this point, but depending on conditions, other vehicles can travel the road. This rough road goes for another 17kms until it reaches the “big hill”. Along the way there is one ice/water crossing. It can be quite interesting and is currently (January, 2008) being constantly maintained by a logging company. If the “big hill” is muddy or icy or has too much snow, it can be extremely difficult to navigate. Orient Point’s
“The Real Big Drip- 200m- V, M7+, WI 7” can be viewed to the southwest from atop this hill. This is a remote area and very little exists in the way of facilities or emergency help.
At the bottom of the hill, turn right and do your best to follow a sometimes vague, sometimes obvious, track along the right of the wash until it becomes essential to cross the wash heading west and navigate further north crossing a well established bridge over the river and continuing through some big rutts and/or snow drifts until you come to a river crossing. An official government ban on crossing this river is in effect currently (2007) and appears to be an issue at large. Look for signage to that effect. It is regarding trout migration. Whether on foot or vehicle, cross the river and head west following the river. At a forced second crossing is GBU (the Good, the Bad, the Ugly), a significant ice wall leading down to the river bed on the right.
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