Blue Octavo, WI3 100m
FA- G.Cornell, S.Reed and J.Seddon, Oct 2013
Blue Octavo is the most eastern line of a condensed grouping of ice lines on the north face of Mt.Kent which is found by hiking about 5km up James Walker Creek from Sawmill parking lot. All the ice lines up here are best done early season due to avalanche danger and have formed in late September. We climbed this last days of October. Bet it woulda been fine well into November. Other unclimbed ice in the photos below are either on Kent, James Walker or the north face of Mt.Inflexible.
From Sawmill parking lot along the Smith-Dorrien Road, go and east from behind the bathroom following a flood drainage to a locked gate. Go left and north following an old road. This mellow road goes up and down until an obvious V-split in the trail. An earlier trail heads off and up right earlier- don’t take this. The trail hooks around NE then east into the valley and soon you will come to a boulderfield and dry mud lake. You can spot a few of the ice routes from here. The trail heads into the forest when the creek emerges from a canyon. Hike up following flagging and an OK trail that is easy to loose for few hundred meters. Aim for the slender rockwall up the valley. One the trail spits you below the 20m high rockwall follow a wide gravel trail up and north(water source). Go up and right above the rockwall onto open rolling hills. Hike back south to the waterfall on scree/snow.
Climb the first steep step of ice to easier angled ice to a two bolt belay on the left wall. (55m)
Climb thin ice to a snow slope, branch right and take the fat flow directly above you to rockface, traverse left to the edge and a two bolt belay. (45m) This pitch can be split into two shorter pitches. Use sling for rap bolts.
Either hike out the same way or take scree slope to the bottom and follow it far west until you are in line with the dry lake which will require some bushwacking to get through(not recommended!)
Blue Octavo was a murder mystery novel from 1963(named Bound to Kill in America by John Blackburn) about of all things, a man who is wanting an obscure northern England guidebook to some first ascents at a place called The Grey Boulders and why a man was desperate to keep this rare climbing guide with only 100 ever printed. Would make a good David Lynch climbing movie.