American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Centennial Range Peaks Climbed by Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 1968

Centennial Range Peaks Climbed by Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition. The climb of Mount Vancouver is covered in a separate article in this Journal. In the Centennial Range all the peak names are official, having been approved by the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names in Ottawa. The one exception is “Mount Baffin.” The glacier names are at present before the committee for approval. All provisional names are given in parenthesis. These peaks were climbed from three Base Camps. Mounts Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec were climbed from Fundy Base, which was placed seven miles southwest of Lucania up the tributary which flows south into the Walsh Glacier (“Fundy Glacier”). Centennial Peak and Mounts Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were climbed from Prairie Base, which was up “Prairie Glacier,” which flows into the Walsh from the north 5½ miles east of the Alaskan border. Mounts British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest were climbed from T-Bone Base, which lies on the glacier which flows south into the Chitina Glacier three miles east of the frontier. The British Columbia team was eventually flown over the west side of their mountain and climbed it from a high camp on the “Dixon Glacier.” From aerial photographs, it became apparent that not only were most of the summits going to be difficult to climb but that the majority had massive cornices hanging from their precipitous summit ridges. Because of cornices, some of the parties have clearly acknowledged that they did not reach their summits, although they did get to foresummits of approximately the same height. Others came to within a few feet of the summit cornice and wisely stopped when there was no obvious permanent part of the mountain between them and the top of the cornice itself.

Mount Northwest* (10,796 feet): first ascent of the south summit and second ascent of Mount Yukon on July 15 by Patrick Baird, Jim Caldwell, Jim Ferguson, Don Morton. The route led over the summit of Mount Yukon (and thus far was the same as used by the Mount Yukon party) and along the ridge that connects the two mountains. The party stopped at the south summit, separated from the slightly higher north summit by a nearly level, dangerously corniced ridge 150 yards long. Mount Yukon (10,600 feet) : first ascent on July 15 by Mike MacCallum, Hugh Hohener, Dr. William Louis, Jim White. The route led from the glacier south of the mountain up a gully to a glacial plateau, which was climbed on the west side, and then crossed to a gully leading up to the southeast ridge. The party climbed the ridge for about 500 feet to the summit. Mount British Columbia (10,200 feet): first ascent on July 19 by Ralph Hutchinson, Andrew Gruft, Byron Olson, Karl Winter. The mountain was climbed from a high camp on the “Dixon Glacier.” The route led from the south up a couloir to the west ridge and then up the ridge to the summit. Mount Alberta (10,983 feet) : first ascent on July 13 by Wayne Smith, Philip Dowling, Klaus Hahn, Dr. Gerald Wright. The mountain was climbed from the east up a rock rib to the Alberta-Saskatchewan col and then up the north ridge, across below the summit on the east side to the south ridge and up this ridge to the summit. Mount Saskatchewan (11,387 feet): attempted on July 19 by Miss Gertrude Smith, Mrs. Helen Butling, Miss Andrea Rankin, Mrs. Wendy Teichmann. The route led from a high camp in the snow cirque to the east of the mountain to join the northeast ridge at about 9500 feet and then up the ridge. The party was forced to turn back at about 10,400 feet. Mount Manitoba (11,150 feet): attempted on July 10 by Paddy Sherman, Dr. Raymond Denson, Don Forest, Duncan McDougall. The party ascended the face to the west of the south buttress and then climbed in a northwesterly direction up the face towards the top, keeping near the ridge which runs towards Mount Saskatchewan. They were turned back a short distance from the summit by rotten snow on ice. Mount Ontario (12,200 feet): first ascent on July 15 by Helmut Microys, Sev Heiberg, Roland Reader. (Alex Norman was not on the summit climb because of ill health.) The mountain was climbed up the glacier on the south side of the southwest buttress to the Centennial Peak-Ontario ridge at about 11,000 feet and then along the southeast ridge to the summit. Centennial Peak (12,321 feet) : first ascent on July 24 by Fips Broda, Klaus Boerger, Stanley Rosenbaum, Hans Weber. The summit consists of several small ice pinnacles or flutes, three of which are very distinct. The northerly one is the lowest of the three and the central and southwesterly ones are of almost equal height and separated by a 75-foot feathery snow crest. Which is higher may differ from year to year. The summit of the southwesterly pinnacle was reached at 2:30 p.m. in very poor light. The route led up the glacier immediately east of Prairie Base and across the ridge at its head to join the small glacier south of the summit. The glacier was ascended to the col at its head and the southwest ridge followed to the summit. Mount Quebec (12,300 feet): first ascent of main and north peaks on July 15 by Claude Lavallée, André Hébert, Peter Hutchins, Hans Munger. The mountain was climbed from the “Chaleur Glacier” up a spur to the snow plateau between the north and south peaks and then south to the main summit. The descent was made over the north peak to a col between Mount Quebec and Mount Prince Edward Island and then back down to the “Chaleur Glacier.” Mount New Brunswick (11,114 feet): first ascent of south summit (c. 11,070 feet) on July 16 by Peter Spear, Stephen Bezruchka, Christopher Gardner, Robin Lidstone. The mountain was climbed from a high camp at the base of the glacier flowing southeast from the peak. The route led up a rock ridge to the south peak and then along the ridge connecting it to the main summit. The party was stopped about 130 feet below and 200 yards from the main summit by a dangerous cornice. Mount Prince Edward Island (12,262 feet) : first ascent of main and south peaks on July 16 by Norman Pursell, Brendan Moss, Albert Parke, Christopher Smith. The route led from a high camp up the southeast ridge to the south summit (c. 11,000 feet) and then over to the southwest ridge and up it for 1000 feet to the summit. Mount Newfoundland (12,041 feet): first ascent except for soft summit cornice on July 15 by Werner Himmelsbach, Dr. Dick Roe, Don Soughan. (Ian Stewart was not on the summit climb because of the effects of a fall.) The mountain was climbed up a couloir on the east face that joined the south ridge near the summit and then along this. The party stopped 20 feet below and 60 feet from the top because of the summit cornice. Mount Nova Scotia (10,800 feet) : first ascent on July 15 by Robert Paul, Fred Crickard, Don Poole, Maurice Tyler. The route led up the glacier that flows northwest from the mountain into a point on the summit ridge just west of the summit and from there along the ridge to the summit. “Mount Baffin” (9600 feet): first ascent on July 19 by Mike MacCallum, Don Morton, Jim White. The route led east from T-Bone Base into a small snow basin and then up a south ridge to slightly west of the summit and finally east to the top. (These climbs are more fully covered in the Canadian Alpine Journal.)

David R. Fisher

*The official heights show Mount Northwest higher than Mount Yukon, but the team that climbed both says that the former is definitely the lower by at least 50 feet.

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