dark and light clouds over the Coast Mountains British Columbia, Canada
the Coast Mountains and Valley, British Columbia; (photo/Josef Hanus)

Trio Adds New Routes to Remote BC Valley: ‘Endless First Ascents to Be Had’

A remote climbing expedition into the Ecstall region of Terrace, British Columbia, has yielded several first ascents — and uncovered the potential for many more.

Nick Hindley, Harlin Brandvold, and Duncan Pawson made their first trip into the remote granite-laden Coast Range valley in British Columbia, Canada, in 2019. On this initial visit, the trio put up two incomplete lines before the weather forced them out.

Recently, a much-anticipated return allow the climbers to complete two long and stunning routes: the 15-pitch “Disaster Fauna” (5.11 A0) and the eight-pitch “Flight of the Dodo” (5.10). A third route called “Lizard King” remains yet unfinished, though Hindley, Brandvold, and Pawson have climbed the first eight pitches at 5.10 C2.

In an Instagram post, Pawson explained that he and his partners referred to the valley as “Pangea” due to its “prehistoric aura.” Pangea sits below the north face of Mount Gilt, a nearly 4,000-foot wall. This wall is the area that the trio claims holds the vastest potential for new routes.

“Harlin originally found the place by flying around on Google Earth,” says Pawson. “We could not find any trip reports of climbers (or anyone really) having been in the valley before.” Accessed via helicopter, Pangea is located in northwestern British Columbia, relatively close to the Alaska border. “Even the bears and mountain goats seemed confused and scared by our presence,” says Pawson. “obviously they don’t get many visitors.”

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Unclimbed British Columbia Valley: 2 New Routes

 

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Disaster Fauna” was climbed almost completely free, and the remaining A0 section comes down to a short three-bolt technical crux that the first ascensionists believe could probably be freed at 5.11+ or 5.12-. The trip described the area’s climbing as “fun and varied,” with “splitter hand cracks and face climbing over chicken heads and bizarre granite pods.”

“Flight of the Dodo” climbs a corner system on the Cambrian Wall, a relatively small feature north of Ecstall Pass. The new routes represent just a few of the “endless FAs to be had,” Hindley said to Gripped.

Hindley, Brandvold, and Pawson plan to compile footage from their expeditions and put together a short video. We’ll share more on the area and the FA video once it’s live.

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Austin Beck-Doss
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Austin Beck-Doss regularly relocates according to whichever climbing area is in season. In addition to covering gear and the outdoor industry for GearJunkie, he enjoys writing about music, culture, and personal observations from time spent in the natural world.