American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Ascents from the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers, Purcell Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1961

Ascents from the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers, Purcell Range. In August, Douglas and Betty Anger, Arthur and Claudia Maki and Bob and Peggy West visited the central Purcell Range, climbing. from a base camp at the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers. Three small children were also taken to Base Camp: David West, age 3, and Susan and Peter Anger, age 2 and 4.

All of the peaks around the lake were ascended during the three-week trip. A route was found up the icefall from the lake to the Jumbo Névé, and from here Mounts Jumbo, West Guardsman and Karnak were climbed, the last by the northeast face, a new route. First ascents were made of "The Lieutenants,” two peaks of 10,550 and 10,600-foot elevation immediately south of the Lake, and of a 10,000-foot peak northeast of Mount Maye. Granite Peak was climbed by a new route, the northeast arête. Ascents by standard routes were made of Starbird, Commander, and Maye. The Com- mander-Maye col was crossed and the Commander Glacier was resurveyed. Measurements showed that the glacier has advanced about 800 feet since it was visited in 1954.

During the expedition Art Maki and I took a five-day pack trip to visit a large unexplored snowfield west of the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers, between the Starbird Glacier and Duncan Lake. From the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers we descended into the valley of Horsethief Creek, and then followed this valley up to the terminus of the Starbird Glacier where we made our first camp. The next day we ascended the glacier and crossed the main Kootenay divide at a pass just north of Mount Monica. The route west from the pass led through rough, broken country to a lake at about 7800 feet, where we established our advance camp for the exploration of the snowfield. On the same day we made a side trip to ascend the unclimbed 9800-foot peak on the ridge leading west from the Starbird Glacier. On the following day we reached the snowfield (the "Macbeth Névé”) in a little over three hours from the advance camp. After making the first ascent of the peak northeast of the névé, "Mount Macduff” (9800 feet), we crossed the névé to the south and climbed the highest peak of the group, "Mount Macbeth” (10,000 feet). We then returned to camp and on the next day packed out as far as the pass north of Monica. We returned to Base Camp over the Starbird Névé, climbing Monica, two 9800- foot snow peaks, and Mount Starbird en route. A complete account of the expedition will be published in the Canadian Alpine journal.

Robert C. West, Jr.

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