Wicked Wanda - ice

Map for Mountain Information Network report: Wicked Wanda - ice

Ice conditions

Name of climb
Wicked Wanda
Ice quality was:
Wind was:
  • Blowing snow above the climb
  • Blowing snow across the valley


The day was:
  • Sunny
  • Warm


* The drive was straight forward however ruts are deep in places.

* Approach was mostly well boot packed until closer to the climb. Then previous tracks were well buried in newly drifted snow. In punching new tracks it seems an old crust sits under 10-15cm of newer snow. This crust would break as body weight was applied but was hard to break with just a foot sometimes. Overall depth was knee to hip, likely from being wind deposited in the drainage bottom.

* First pitch was actually a little brittle in spots. Dry and protected well initially. Nearing the entrance to the cave protection became a little more challenging owing to the bobbly mushroom nature of the ice. Some rattly hooking rather than the nice sticks you get lower on the pitch. It seems to be formed this way from dripping and splashing from above indicating it's been wet at some point. That splashing also caused a shell over snow just as topping out into the cave making it a challenge to get good tools but there is better ice once the shell and snow is cleared.

* The cave is quite spacious but the bolted anchor is lower than the cave floor so we used the rope to extend the belay to the upper area.

* Second pitch is fun climbing starting inside the cave. Overhanging ice leads to a narrow pillar, which leads you into a narrow hole. I chopped the hole a little bigger but wished I'd made it wider because once I was squeezing though, my little lead pack made it tight. Stepping out of the hole gave soft hero sticks in wet ice, and LOTS of splashing. Right side was wetter than it looked from the ground and a hardshell would be advised. Fortunately the groove is easier climbing with soft easy sticks and it's possible to climb it fast before moving left to dryer ice. A short way to the top then. Beware of water pooling below the snow at you top out but the ice at the top out allows screws to protect the second as well as protecting the traverse left to the bolted anchor.

* Above the climb has more snow than I've probably ever seen up there. My partner wondered if the snow near the summit might be cause for concern but I think even if an avi initiated up there and fell to the slopes below, there is sufficient flat runout it's unlikely to reach the climb. I did see signs of very small crowns where possible small slabs sluffed away but it wasn't a threat to the climb.

* From the climb, we could see Malignant Mushroom is gone. No sign of Sunshine but it looks like Fearful Symmetry may be formed. Too far away to tell quality though and the last report I saw for Aquarius said protection on Aquarius was poor so not too encouraging for anyone with desires to check out A or FS.

* Before we left it looked like water was dripping around the entrance to the cave. I wasn't sure if it was the day warming up leading to increased melt above or whether a screw hole released something after the second cleaned the top screws, or something else. Given we couldn't see it before we climbed P1 it might be a good idea to do the climb early in the day because with earlier observations this might be a daily warming and dripping to top out into the cave.

* On the descent it was quite pleasant in the sun. We got back to the car and sat having snacks and drinks while observing Orient Point. I think we could see signs of a point release avalanche from near the summit and there was lots of spindrift blowing around from the summit and ridge. Not too windy at valley bottom but was windy at the top of the climb while belaying.