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North America, Canada, Interior Ranges, Pioneer Peak, North Face

Pioneer Peak, North Face. While on Adamant Gary Colliver had noticed an ice face on Pioneer Peak which he assured me was 65°. I have never seen any ice face this steep, though sections of one may be, so I was skeptical of his mathematics. But whatever the angle, the ice slope just left of the northern summit of Pioneer Peak was very tempting. On August 31 Gary and I took three and a half hours to climb the face, front pointing all the way. We shortened our rope and placed belay pitons, but after the first few pitches we used no intermediate anchors. We found that the most insecure time was when we were transferring from straight front pointing with piolet-ancre to cutting the necessary step before placing an anchor; thus, in a sense, the fewer stops to place pitons, the greater the security. Though the face was not 65°, it was steep enough, and about 1300 feet long. Grade III.

Christopher A.G. Jones