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North America, Canada, British Columbia, Northwest Face of Slesse Peak, Chilliwack Range

Northwest Face of Slesse Peak, Chilliwack Range. The northwestern edge of Slesse Peak had intrigued climbers for some time. Slesse has a very steep northeast face descending to Middle Creek and a steep north profile edging up from the ridge separating this from Slesse Creek. Since the rock on the normal (southwest) route is firm and well broken, we reasoned that despite its forbidding appearance, the north edge might be possible. In June Don Claunch, Ed Cooper and I approached the peak from Slesse Creek and at nightfall found ourselves at timberline in a dense cloud. Tied to trees on a 30° slope we spent the night in our down jackets. In the morning, after groping to the upper walls through the fog, we were about to give up when the sun broke through. The stark and sheer route involved some moderate climbing out of a notch on the north ridge. On the third lead, the holds became ever smaller. Working left, I felt relieved when pitons took well. My turn ended on a platform. Claunch took a long, vertical pitch over what had looked to be the worst from below. He was anchored in less than an hour. Another lead would take us to a point where the rock became broken again. Working left from a good piton belay, Cooper climbed a wall of "loose bricks" and gained the summit arête. A half-hour later we stood on top. Already late in the afternoon, we made long rappels and descended into timber as far as we could before we had to make a second bivouac in total darkness.

Fred Beckey