Good Intentions, Bad Habits- Ashlar Ridge, 5.11a, 350m sport
FA- S.Cameron and D.Diduck 1997
This is a really fun 8 pitch bolted slab line that drops in a near direct line from the first big slab you see driving up from the Yellowhead. There is a viewpoint tourist pullout right on the roads’ corner and makes a great place to scope the route, sort gear or whatever gets you motivated. This info is from a personal ascent in 2002 and Mr.Diduck was the one who convinced us to do it when we went looking for info at Gravity Gear about something to do. What a great choice, what a great valley and wall, a very peaceful experience. Photos are from recent ascent by P.Jones and I.Gosney in 2013.
Turn right off the Yellowhead highway northbound at Pocohontas after leaving Jasper 40km to the SW. Travel 8.5km up this same road for Miette Hot Springs to big pullout mentioned in the intro. Drive 1.3km south and park on the side of the road or wherever is safely possible. Drop down 100m to the Fiddle River and cross it. Walk up the hillisde and hike for 1.5hrs to the base of the wall aiming for the grassy jutting knoll that takes you like nature’s escalator to the base of the route. Traverse on the rock face now left 100m to belay. Beware that some of the bolts on the lower arching pitches that swoop upward to its vertical relief, some are wretched a bit and scarred up from years of rockfall onto the slab; it’s good there is enough to not fret too much. Bolt count is forgotten but be safe and bring 12 draws as there must be that many on the crux alone, also ask in town.
The crux comes at a right-trending arch and has lots of bolts, enough to do a quick aid off if you can’t pull the moves which are very fun and lead into a spooky section of loose rock. The pitches above this are wonderful also, a great outing indeed.
Ever so easily descend the south ridge to a col and down scree and trees back to the base retracing your way to the river and car.
It would be a very neat hike/scramble to start this ridge as a overnight backpack from its most possible northern reach and coming out at Miette Hot Springs for a dip. Has anyone done this?!