American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson, Second Ascent of North Face

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

Mount Robson, Second Ascent of North Face. The nearly 8000-foot rise to the summit of Mount Robson from Berg Lake challenged Peter Lev, Jocelyn (Jock) Glidden and me in August, 1968. After approaching the mountain in fine weather, we climbed to the Robson-Helmet Col and camped there for a week under inclement skies. One promising day we climbed the lower third of the 2500-foot north face and retreated in a storm. This year we rose at two a.m. on July 31 at our Berg Glacier Camp at 10,000 feet under a clear sky and quickly climbed the lower right end of the north face. The upper bergschrund approach, used by the first- ascent party in 1963 (A.A.J., 1965, 14;1, p. 64) and by us in 1968, seemed blocked by the collapse of the schrund end into séracs. We settled for the entire face, 26 leads with 150-foot rope-lengths. We front-pointed up on hard snow and ice for most of the way, with conditions remaining firm thanks to clouding skies, well protected by snow pickets, dead-men or Salewa ice screws. Below the rock bands our route was directly up, with some angling to the left in the “gentler” snow finger at the middle of the face. In the rockbands where we avoided the rotten, down-sloping rock, we angled right for six final leads. We topped out at eight p.m. with Jock making a final impressive lead on rotten 60° snow and ice. Fluffy, overhanging snow mushrooms along the summit ridge soon brought us to an abrupt halt for the evening. After an airy bivouac in a snow cave, carved into a mushroom, we reached the summit at six a.m. on August 1.

Franz Mohling

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