Sunshine is a simple piece of ice and one of the easier routes (worth doing) in the entire Ghost area. The main reason it is worth doing is its easy approach and proximity to Malignant Mushroom, WI 5
, Aquarius, WI 4,
and Recital Hall which contains the more infamous WI 6 routes of Rainbow Serpent
and Fearful Symmetry
. In fact it can be used as the approach ice for Aquarius and thus the entrance to Recital Hall.
All of this ice makes up the north side of Devil’s Gap
in the South Ghost. A good photo op for Sunshine is actually from Planter’s Valley
across the gap to the south. I have added at least one photo from this perspective while climbing the Peanut Gallery, III, WI 4
and/or Weathering Heights, III, WI 4
. This perspective makes Sunshine out to be a bigger challenge than it really is.
Sunshine is really a low angled route found 500 meters to the left (west) of Malignant Mushroom, WI 5
. From the trailhead, head north to the riverbed and turn west, following it and aiming for the base of the route which should be clearly visible. Start to angle up through the trees where appropriate. This is a common enough route that you should be able to disseminate some sort of trail. You eventually come to a mixed obstacle that can be easily overcome, but it is best and quicker to circumvent it to the left up steep ground
which will land you at the left lower steep corner of Sunshine. That is the best start from which to belay.
The fall is normally quite thick, nothing extraordinary about it. As you would expect with WI 3 ice, there are several large steps with curtains above. There is a solid tree belay at the top. This is an easy route to run leader laps on, or you can continue to Aquarius. Just continue up to the base of the steep rock cliff and follow it left as it dumps you into the drainage below, Aquarius, WI 4
Sunshine is a consistent route to form early and get your WI muscles warmed up on. It is 45 meters, so it is worth having double ropes which I recommend on any WI routes in the Canadian Rockies. We switched leads on Sunshine in December and it was well formed and not picked out. The north side of Devils Gap
is below the massive walls of Phantom Crag (aka Devil’s Fang) which sports some serious summer time rock climbing.
Two Ice Tools, Double 60 meter Ropes, 6-8 Ice Screws with draws and/or screamers, Crampons, Helmet, Warm Clothes, Full Shank Boots, 4W Drive (Preferable), Shovel and Sleeping Bag, the Ghost can be full of surprises.
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