Will Gadd, Will Mayo, Pat Delaney, and John Freeman collectively developed a new M11 route called Nophobia in the Ghost area near Canmore, Alberta. Two in the party successfully climbed the route on January 10, 2013."This was such a huge effort from Will, John, Pat and myself that we all agreed that the FA would be for all of us; who redpointed it first was irrelevant," Gadd says in an email to Rock and Ice.
Will Mayo and Pat Delaney began developing the route in 2009, but the remoteness of the cave made it a time-intensive effort. "It's important to understand that just getting to the trailhead involves some really serious 4x4 sports action," Will Gadd writes. "I have about a 50 percent success rate on trips into this area of the Ghost; creek crossing that result in frozen brake drums (there are tricks for getting these unfrozen involving fires etc.), mud, getting stuck one way or the other, fully half the battle is just getting to the place where you walk another hour to the climb."
Over the last four years, Will Mayo visited the cave over a dozen times to work the route. Delaney, Gadd, and Freeman all made more than six trips each. John Freeman even built seats out of plywood at each of the belays to make it easier to work the route.
Mayo and Gadd started discussing visiting the cave again while waiting in isolation at the Bozeman ice comp. They teamed up with Freeman, who had a large 4x4 vehicle to get to the base of the route, and made the trip out there one more time along with Pat Delaney.
Nophobia consisted of a total of five pitches up to M11, including a 50-foot roof and a combined 150 feet of overhang. Gadd reported that the second pitch was "the coolest pitch of drytooling I've ever done." The route is located near Cryophobia and Hydrophobia in the Ghost area, which Will Mayo referred to as "the biggest sport mixed cave in the world."
Check out some more photos of Mayo and Gadd working the route (Mayo is in blue, Gadd is in red):
Photos by Tim Banfield.