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North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Mount Tupper, South Face, Selkirks

Mount Tupper, South Face, Selkirks. Ever since the opening of the Rogers Pass section of the Trans-Canada Highway, I had been hoping to get onto the now easily accessible, unclimbed south face of Mount Tupper, which towers magnificently north of the pass. On July 24 Jerry Fuller and I left our car at daybreak to climb several thousand feet of tedious, steep gullies and grassy slopes. At first we did a great deal of unroped rock climbing, both in a major gully that leads to the great ledge about 900 feet under the summit and on the rock wall to the right, but we finally roped. Several pitches proved harder than anticipated. On the final rock wall, far steeper than the rest of the face, we kept to a line just right of the summit, where the face forms a corner. The first pitch off the great ledge was one of the best free climbing problems and on the fifth pitch we turned an ominous step by a 15-foot, direct-aid crack and some hard free climbing. More delightful free climbing on tiny holds brought us to a forbidding section, which we finally solved by a spectacular piton traverse across an overhanging wall and then along the edge of a gigantic block that some day seems doomed to fall. One final section took us out of difficulty. The upper sections of the face turned out slabby and down-sloping. The rock is quartzite and generally excellent, although cracks often tended to expand when pitoned. We used 21 pitons; good rock horns and belay ledges substituted for iron in many cases. The descent was made by the normal route.

Fred Beckey