American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Interior Ranges, Mount Dawson, Northwest Face, Selkirk Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1970

Mount Dawson, Northwest face, Selkirk Range. Faith in photographs taken nearly a half century ago can be foolish, we learned. What had looked like a good ice route on the north face of the Dawson Massif had receded to cliffy remnants and a long spur of steep, evil-looking rock. The combination of a fresh veneer of snow and its being late in the season (early August) did not help, for the ice sections looked bare and the rock route was plastered. The Dawson Glacier had receded unbelievably, and where the Geikie Glacier once filled the Incomappleux there was a cold, strenuous ford. Fortunately, a new route still existed, this leading up the west side of the face via a steep glacier arm to the Michel-Feuz Col. John Rupley, Jim Jones and I made this ascent, finding several route problems among the seracs and crevasses, interspaced with short, steep cramponing pitches. Flat areas, drifted deep with new snow, were dangerous with concealed crevasses. The climb was assured of success, but still interesting. Once at the col, we followed the west spur to the summit. Fortunately this was easy, for the rock is not the impressive quartzite of the Sir Donald Group. The descent was made by the same route.

Fred beckey

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