Tim Emmett climbs The Path at Back of the Lake, Lake Louise
- Thursday 13th August 2020 at 5.35pm
July 22nd; 2016
After a spell of dedicated effort, a number of heart-breaker falls, and nearly three dry months, Tim Emmett has topped out on The Path at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.
Tim Emmett on The Path (5.14a/F8b+). Photo @skupinski
The Path - rated at 5.14aR which roughly translates to around E10 7a – is on The Wicked Gravity Wall, one of the bigger walls at Back of The Lake, Lake Louise. The first ascent story is quite an interesting one as it was originally bolted way back and then left unclimbed. Having notched up the first ascent of Cobra Crack, the 30m overhanging thin crack in the Cirque of the Uncrackables at Squamish in 2006, the Canadian climber Sonnie Trotter pulled the bolts out of the old long abandoned project and then started working it to climb as a trad line. After a number of days effort spread out working the line, Sonnie finally head-pointed The Path in 2007. On his final ascent he placed all the gear on lead including protecting the initial pitch of Wicked Gravity – a 5.11a pitch which itself has recently been retro-bolted – on trad gear alone. A year later, the well-known Californian climber, Ethan Pringle, made a one-day, lightning-quick repeat a year later.
So, onto Tim’s ascent. Tim started posting on FB over a month ago about trying The Path with Read Macadam. Having worked The Path on a top rope, attempts on the lead involved a number of big falls as Tim explained; “It's pretty exciting getting ready for the hardest trad climb of your life! I took the ride off the top crux â€ª#psyched ! Can't wait for round 2 tomorrow, it's such a brilliant route. Good gear, runout in places. It overhangs about 20feet in 45m”.
Read Macadam on The Path. Photo Tim Emmett
A week or so ago the route was wet so it forced Tim and Read to chill out. Success came however, for both Tim and Read, two days ago – their double send coinciding with Read’s birthday. Tim again; “â€ª#TeamSend ! Happy Birthday @readmacadam so psyched we both got it ! Day 85 with no alcohol - I think it might well be â€ª#BeerO'clock ðŸ˜‰ â€ª#goodtimes â€ª#ThePath â€ª#8b+.
Tim and Read – Team Send
Tim – one of the most ebullient personalities in the climbing world – is delighted with his ascent as you’d imagine; “So psyched to climb â€ª#ThePath yesterday with @readmacadam. It took 8 visits and 6 attempts on lead placing all the gear each time. What an incredible and exciting adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the world.” He explained the grade too; “It's given 5.14aR which means if you make a mistake you might take a big fall but you're not going to die”.
Finally, Tim explained his reasons for trying The Path; “I've wanted to do this route for years ever since I saw @sonnietrotter 's video of the FA in 2007. Sonnie first came onto my radar when he repeated Dave MacLeod’s â€ª#Rhapsody (5.14bR) in â€ª#Scotland probably the first E11 in the world. Sonnies trait was to climb hard routes protected by traditional gear rather than bolts. Being British, it's something I have aspired to do as well so the Path was the perfect climb to try. I'm going to miss the daily commute to the Back of the Lake, such a special place, sometimes on quiet days you can see a grizzly bears down by the water, and to top it all off Katie and I got married there too, so to have a team ascent with Read on his birthday felt really cool. We had a great time."
Follow Tim on FB here