Friday, July 16, 2010

Athabasca N. Face Bypass with Brad

Brad from Edmonton joined me for another great day of mountaineering at the Columbia Icefields. Over the past few years, Brad and I have climbed AthaB's Silverhorn, the North Face of Andromeda, Mt. Deltaform, Eisenhower Tower, and a number of other big climbs together.
We are hoping to bring it all together for an ascent of Mt. Robson later on this summer!

Athabasca's North Face Bypass route.

The weather was once again stormy at the Icefields so we modified our original plan a bit and chose to climb the excellent North Face Bypass route on Mt. Athabasca. It was raining when we left the parking lot, but once we reached the glaciers it had turned to snow and travel was good. We raced across the lower glacier and were soon climbing the steep snow slopes leading to the upper part of the North Ridge. On the ridge, a number of short rock steps add some challenge and we enjoyed climbing up and over them. The final snow ridge to the summit was completed in full whiteout conditions, but it was fun to be up there in the wild weather! Since the snowpack was quite solid, we decided to descend the North Glacier route and were soon back on the moraines. The skies unleashed their fury as we walked down the moraines and we got soaked to the bone as lightning crashed around us. Luckily Brad can move super fast so we made it back to the car in no time!
Climbing through the rock steps once joining the upper North Ridge.
Smiling in the face of the storm on the summit!

By the time we reached the campground it was snowing like mad, and apparently it kept snowing for almost two days afterwards! Overall it was a good warmup climb for Mt. Robson, hopefully we have some better weather for that one!
J. Mills

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