VIDEO: BD grassroots athlete Jesse Huey on The Real Big Drip (M7 WI 6), Canadian Rockies
Black Diamond grassroots athlete Jesse Huey worked with photographer John Dickey last year to put together this video clip of an ascent of the Canadian Rockies' famed The Real Big Drip. At M7 WI 6, The Real Big Drip is a 200-meter battle of testy mixed terrain and uncertain ice curtains, and this report and video does an amazing job of showcasing what doing battle with such a testpiece is all about.
A warm trickle of liquid running down your face is never a good sign when ice climbing. Anger, for whatever reason, seems to be my instantaneous reaction after the ice reaches out and seemingly punches me in the nose. Maybe swearing at the ice will make it better? Quickly the anger dissipates, the focus returns, and the sound of blood dripping down a jacket turns into just another detail that doesn’t matter in the moment
The Real Big Drip (M7 WI 6), located in the Canadian Rockies Ghost Wilderness, will keep you in the moment, bottom to top. One of the biggest, baddest mixed climbs in the world, it is steep, long, loose, unrelenting, and absolutely my favorite mixed climbs in Canada. Some years with ice, some without, the RBD can be climbed in almost any condition.
My first trip into the RBD is forever seared into my memory banks. Mouth wide open, I watched as my partner sailed 30 feet through perfectly overhanging air after breaking a hold while punching it for the ice above the last bolt. An hour later, finding myself 15 feet above his exact position, all I can remember is shaking so heavily that I could barely clip the anchor and say “off belay.” In normal years, the RBD is much tamer. Returning this last year, I looked over from the safety of the hanging ice at the section we dry tooled the year before. Maybe a year wiser, or just a little more weary of the consequence, I just shook my head and vowed to never do something like that again.
I hope to be able to climb the RBD every year. The exposure, difficulty and pure aesthetic make it one of my very favorite routes of all time. If you are up for the challenge, don’t think about it and just get on it. The RBD is the first climb you see when you get to the Ghost and every year it will call for you. You may not get up it your first time, you may cut your nose, or you may just send that pile. One thing is for sure, though, you won’t know unless you try!