AMBROSIA

AMBROSIA June 15th,
am·bro·sia (m-brzh, -zh-), n. Something with an especially delicious flavoUr or fragrance.
Ambrosia is an easy (5.6) 4-pitch rock climb found up Koch Creek in the Valhallas, and in my opinion, is aptly named. It offers a mix of slab and crack climbing with bolted belay stations. A small rack is required for pitches 2 and 3 (chocks and cams to 3”); pitch 1 requires a few quick draws and a head for run-out slabs; pitch 4 is easy but unprotected. You can rap the route with two ropes, or walk off to the east, but I have found it non-trivial to get to the descent slope from the top of the route.
It is south facing and in a very nice setting (if you ignore the ubiquitous clearcuts). For an easy multi-pitch rock climb, I don’t think there anything else like it in the West Kootenays. This was my on-again, off-again club trip that eventually went.
On a sunny and warm day (June 15, 2008), Vicki Hart and I met Andrew Murray at the Passmore Junction, where we all piled into my truck and drove to the Ambrosia parking lot up the Koch Creek road.
With loppers and clippers, we did some light trail maintenance as we made our way up to the base of the route. I had previously climbed this route a number of times, but still
managed to lose the trail. It is worth noting, that there is a well-defined trail that goes straight uphill from the vicinity of where the trail crosses the ravine – in hindsight, I think this must be the walk-off trail that I had not found before. Anyway, we climbed too high, and then kept going to be absolutely sure we were too high, and then did a bit of whacking to get back down to the start of the route.
I pounded a lost arrow into the crack in the short wall at the left-hand side of the belay ledge for the belayer to clip into. I left it for posterity – look for it when you go. While Andrew is new to the club and the area, he is smart. Without appearing to do so, he dodged the first lead I was trying to saddle him with, and thus I found myself on the sharp end for pitch 1. It is a good thing my memory is poor, as the run-outs really are a thing to behold. Two clips in the last ~35+ metres, me thinks.
Andrew took the second pitch and did a fine job. Upon seconding the pitch, it finally dawned on me, that the last bolt that always seems in an illogical spot, is actually directly in line with the finger crack on pitch 3, and is maybe where you would put a bolt if the current third belay station did not exist – perhaps they used to belay at bolt/pin spot at the base of flake/crack wall part way up pitch 2? Perhaps the third belay station was added later?
Andrew also led the third pitch and found the beginning and end run-out. Due to insufficient traffic, the crack gets a bit dirtier each time I climb it. Vicki, the peak bagger extraordinaire, wanted to go to the top, so I dragged the ropes up the last easy, but completely unprotected, pitch.
After lunch, we rapped with two ropes from the top to the bottom of pitch 3. When Andrew went to pull the ropes they quickly became stuck. Stuck? On a slab route? The rope end being pulled up wasn’t far away, so Andrew belayed me up to get it; I then did a prussik self-belay and climbed back up to check things out. It turned out, that one rope had wrapped itself around the other one making a bit of an impromptu Klemheist. Never seen that before. I cleaned things up and carefully rapped back down – the ropes pulled fine, but the one strand was very twisted. We rapped the next two pitches without incident.
We walked back doing more trail work and re-hanging some fallen flagging – hopefully the next party will find the trail easier than we did.
Vicki Hart, Andrew Murray, and me Doug Brown.

About admin

I would like to think of myself as a full time traveler. I have been retired since 2006 and in that time have traveled every winter for four to seven months. The months that I am “home”, are often also spent on the road, hiking or kayaking.
I hope to present a website that describes my travel along with my hiking and sea kayaking experiences.

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