August 23, 2011

Ten Days Climbing in the Canadian Rockies

Diccon W on his way to the North Face of Mt. Athabasca.

For the past ten days, I've been running around the Rockies with a host of strong and motivated clients. The weather and conditions have been nearly perfect and we were able to climb many classic objectives. Less than two days after flying home from Russia, I met Diccon W and drove up to the Icefields Parkway. We stopped for some cragging at Lake Louise on the way and it felt really good to be back in Canada.

For our first bigger climb, we opted for the North Face of Mt. Athabasca. Conditions on the approach and descent were a little sloppy but the face itself was in excellent shape. I think it would even make for a good ski descent from the summit right now... But Diccon forgot his skis so we ended up spending our next day climbing Brewers Buttress on Castle Mountain. After another day of ice cragging in a crevasse, I passed Diccon on to another guide, and he went on to climb The Kahl Route on Mt. Stanley, Gooseberry and The Grand Sentinel.

In the meantime, I joined Richard H and sons for a bunch of classic ascents that included Mt. Lefroy, Mt. Lorette, the NE Face on Ha Ling and the scramble route up Mt. Temple. It was a great ten days and I'm looking forward to a few days off.

Diccon W at The Back of The Lake.

On the North Face of Athabasca.

My brand new rope that would be cut in half by a rock 5 days later...

Climbing up towards the crux of the North Face.

Topping out the crux pitch on the North Face of Athabasca.

Topping out on Mt. Athabasca.

Climbing Brewers Buttress on Castle Mountain the following day.

Brewers Buttress may have amounted to more rock climbing than Diccon had done in his whole career.

The last moves on Castle Mountain.

The weather crapped out on the following day so we ventured back up to the North Glacier on Athabasca for some ice climbing.

Topping out the mighty crevasse.

The next day, I met up with Richard H and sons for the hike up to the Abbot Hut. John F also tagged along for this ascent.

Attacking the steep snow and scree.

This photo is really all about the sunglasses.

The West Face of Mt. Lefroy getting the day's last sun.

We left the hut at 4am the following day and were treated to a beautiful sunrise on Mt. Victoria.

Mt. Victoria as seen from Lefroy.

Tom and George climbing the summit ridge of Mt. Lefroy.

The summit of Mt. Lefroy.

We originally wanted to climb Mt. Victoria the following day but turned our sights to Mt. Lorette in K-Country instead.

Mt. Lorette is a great climb with lots of exposure.

Navigating across the big gap on Lorette.

More sunglasses.

The summit of Lorette.

One day after climbing the NE Face of Ha Ling, we finished the trip with an ascent of the scramble route on Mt. Temple.

I don't think we could have had a better day for the climb.

Looking out at Hungabee, Pinnacle, Eifel, Neptuak, Deltaform and many others.

The summit cornices.

And the summit.


Farzad said...

Good stuff Andrew. How was the river crossing to get to the base of the South Ridge of Lorette?

Andrew Wexler said...

Hi Farzad!

The river crossing for Lorette was no more than knee deep when we did it. Hope that helps!