American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Mount Queen Mary, Northeast Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1976

Mount Queen Mary, Northeast Face. In the Royal Group of the Canadian Rockies, south of Assiniboine, Mount Queen Mary has a spectacular long ice face on its unnamed northeast hanging glacier. The face was climbed this fall for the first time and apparently it was the second time the mountain had been climbed since the original ascent 53 years ago. After being chased out of the Palliser Pass area by a snowstorm, Doug McCarty, Jim Kanzler, and I drove to Canal Flat for an entry via the Kootenay and Albert drainages, where a new logging road put a British Columbia approach into a different perspective. A day of elk trails and open forest took us to a spectacular camp spot under the face, close to the ice. September 21 was as perfect as the previous two days had been, and the crampon climb up the 2600-foot face went well. The low sun angle of the season kept the surface temperature low, and therefore ice screws bit beautifully. A final summit pitch up the rock castle, plastered with fresh snow, was best done with crampons on. It was so warm on the summit (10,600 feet) that we nearly fell asleep for an hour before beginning the descent by the same route; the original route was plastered with new snow, and in any event appeared loose, distasteful and not at all easy. Climbers in search of new areas to visit will find the Royal Group has some rewarding possibilities.

Fred Beckey

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