American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Hungabee, Southeast Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1964

Hungabee, Southeast Ridge. The southeast ridge of Hungabee (11,457 feet), starting with Kenkchemna Peak, had apparently never been climbed. In July an attempt with Walter Schrauth ended after a storm and bivouac on Wenkchemna. On August 17 Walter and I again left Moraine Lake for Wenkchemna Pass. About four p.m. we were on top of Wenkchemna Peak, starting down into the gap between it and Hungabee. The ridge soon reared up in a 100-foot vertical wall of loose black rock. Walter struggled up 60 feet of a chimney around to the right and I continued up the easier top part. The ridge was now flat and easy, but before long we met another vertical step of about 40 feet. The rock was more solid, but a slight overhang formed the only dry line, followed by an awkward traverse left. We were now on the huge plateau on the ridge where we bivouacked at 10,600 feet. After a six a.m. start an hour of easy climbing brought us to the final steep section of the ridge. The rock was the dreaded Black Band — loose and nasty. We cut across an ice slope to the left and then up a corner. As the wall above was hopeless, we returned to the ice. Directly above it I led an 80-foot vertical corner, exposed and with little protection. To the left above us was an old sling, probably used by Ernst Feuz and Miss Engelhard to rappel down the upper part of the ridge in 1936. I started up the overhang, protected only by a knotted sling in a one-inch crack. Loose holds came off one after another; it was obviously the hardest lead of the climb. The traverse to the sling was almost as hard. The top part of the ridge was a series of crumbling black towers. Over the top of one, around the next and so on, it was slow going, but at 11:30 we were on top, well satisfied to have the whole ridge behind us.

Richard Lofthouse, Calgary Mountain Club

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