American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Odoray via the Northeast Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1956

Odoray via the Northeast Ridge. The northeast ridge of Odoray is the steep righthand skyline of the mountain when viewed from the Canadian Alpine Club hut in the O’Hara Meadow. Don Morrison and I set out from the cabin about 6:00 A.M. on July 19, 1955, and reached the base of the climb an hour and a half later. This begins where the wooded ridge between Morning Glory Lakes and Linda Lake abuts against the rock wall. Odoray’s northeast ridge is rather a combination of ridge and face, made up of a series of 20- to 60-foot high rock bands; the lower ledges are fairly wide, but higher up they narrow. The rock is generally good but loose in a few places. All the climbing is quite difficult, and belays are scarce.

After starting directly up the ridge, we soon climbed diagonally upwards to the right, bringing us onto the face above Linda Lake. The fourth pitch took us straight up to a grassy ledge where we continued to the right to another ledge 40 feet higher. Here the choice was not easy. We finally followed the ledge to the right around a corner and diagonally up and across a bulge of loose rock into a slight depression running up the face. This we ascended, using thin and untrustworthy holds to a scree shelf which ran up to an overhang sporting a jagged flake of rock on its right. Don tried the overhang and found it the first "hard” lead of the climb. A few easy feet bearing left and some difficult ones brought us to a slimy, downward-sloping ledge. It was a difficult pull up on rounded crumbling holds on the top side of a small but awkward overhang (the second really difficult pitch). Three more pitches diagonally left toward the ridge proper brought us to an ugly, steep, ice-filled gully. Don led up the quite easy rocks on the left of the lower part, across the ice to the rocks on the right, up at the edge of the ice for about 80 feet, then straight up the right wall of the gully for another 40 feet to a sloping ledge with a good belay. From there we crossed back to the left side and climbed a 30-foot wall to escape from this dungeon and regain the ridge proper. All the way up we had awe-inspiring views of Linda Lake right under our feet at the bottom of the gully. After two more difficult pitches, we climbed a tricky, narrow chimney in a wall of loose rock. We then moved slightly to the right up 150 to 200 feet of steep snow, and then up easy rock to the point where the ridge rests in its meteoric rise toward the summit. We scrambled across the horizontal hundred feet or so to the base of the summit block, a steep and forbidding structure of the notorious rock of the black band, cut by two foul-looking chimneys. The narrower one to the right looked the lesser of the two evils and proved easier than we had expected. Above, we scrambled over black rubble to the final slope, a knife edge of treacherous, rotten snow, curving gracefully to the very summit. There are over 3,000 feet of rock to climb on this route, which took us ten and three-quarter hours from base to summit.

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