American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Coast Range, Mount Winstone

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1973

Mount Winstone, Coast Range. An outstanding peak east of Mount Monmouth was climbed and named on a 1964 expedition of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club. Mount Winstone is still little known, as is the glacial area of the Falls, Tchaikazan, and Lord Rivers, the principal drainages. However, Taseko Lakes and the Chilcoton Range east of the Coast Mountain intrusive contact are rather well known, both to the exploratory tourist and prospectors. Early Bridge River gold mining successes led to trail routes and prospecting near Taseko Lakes. Beyond the car road to the lakes from the Chilcotin Road, a 16-mile jeep road was built to gold workings on the high ridge between Falls and Lord Rivers in 1946, but it has not been used by miners for years. John Murdoch's hunting camp on Fishem Lake uses this road and provides an eastern entry to the high-mountain area. On the spur of a good late-summer weather forecast, Daniel Davis, Philip Leatherman and I drove from Seattle to Taseko Lakes and fortunately found Murdoch free to drive us up the jeep road, a service impossible without a boat and flexible vehicle on the opposite bank of the Lord River. A photo of Mount Winstone had caught my attention; it appeared there was room on the broad north-northeast faces for an interesting new alpine route. Our first afternoon’s hiking brought us to a hunting cabin, and the next day up the untracked valley of Falls River to within a few hundred yards of the Falls River Glacier. A camp spot at 6100 feet on a flowered gravel terrace at the fringe of the last pines provided a splendid view of Winstone. Since an ice route we had contemplated on the central peak looked uncertain because of late-season crevasses and ice cliffs, we agreed to focus on the classic face—really a buttress—of the western peak of the Winstone facade. In the early morning of August 25 we trekked the several miles of mostly bared ice of the lower glacier. Increasingly steep névé slopes led to a glacier segment close to the center of the face. Here we cramponed a series of steep slopes to a narrow ice ridge on the buttress. Two pitches of steep ice took us to rock. Some eight pitches of class 4 and 5 climbing up the steep buttress brought us to the summit ridge crest in mid-afternoon. A short scramble west led to the 10,000-foot summit, not visited since the 1964 first ascent. A long survey of the Homathko and Waddington areas, partly clouded in the distance, led to the realization we had best descend. We chanced a route down gullies to the south, to the Tchaikazan Glacier. A glacier hike to a col led to the Falls drainage. Here we descended a crevassed glacier area to the lower more moderate ice, then made it to camp as evening was approaching.

Fred Beckey

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