French Reality, Stanley Headwall, Kootenay National Park
I climbed French Reality yesterday, December 1st with Nic Bussieres. The route is currently in good shape and a bit easier than the guidebook grade.
We approached via the shoulder following an existing snowshoe track, but didn't require snowshoes. Thanks to the party that put that track in. People had also been approaching from directly below the route, which looked to be in good shape as well, but exposes you to avalanche terrain for longer. The exposed traverse slope to the base of the route had a good track beaten in and felt solid underfoot yesterday.
The lower pitches were a mix of rock and thin ice which is delaminating in places. Stubbies and rock gear protected it well. The upper ice pitches were harder than they looked with a section of hollow sounding ice, but probably only WI 5+ in current conditions.
Beautiful day to be in the Stanley Valley.
ACMG Mountain Guide