American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Coast Range, Mount Waddington from the North

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

Mount Waddington from the North. From July 18 to August 3, Mike Warburton and I traversed the Coast Range from east to west via the Tiedemann and Franklin Glaciers and climbed the north ridge of Mount Waddington by a new route. We approached the range by plane from Campbell River. While on our way in to Ephemeron Lake, we air-dropped some of our supplies at Rainy Knob. It then took us one and a half days to reach Rainy Knob via Nabob Pass and the Tiedemann Glacier. In one day from Rainy Knob we took most of our food up to the Waddington-Combatant Col via the right side of the upper Tiedemann Glacier and returned. In the next seven days there were three days of good climbing weather and four days of storm, but it was enough for us to ascend the Bravo Icefall and headwall to Bravo Col, thence to the bergschrund under the main rock tower. On July 27 from our snow cave under the main rock tower, we ascended the northeast face to the first big notch on the north ridge. We bypassed the large overhanging ice bulge by traversing up and left on the face and then followed the north ridge to the summit across the gap the Steck party encountered in 1950. We descended via the regular southeast chimney rappel route and arrived back at our snow cave in darkness. It had been an exciting long day. On July 28 we returned to the Waddington-Combatant Col by following a direct northeast line on snow. A hanging glacier near the bottom of this route presented unexpected difficulties. In retrospect we were lucky to get down to the col this way. On July 29, to get off the col, we down-climbed the rock buttress which splits the upper Scimitar Glacier. Some rappels and uneasy moments near the bottom of the icefall made for a memorable day. That night we camped near the sharp bend in the Scimitar underneath Fury Gap. The weather worsened as we ascended the far west side of the glacier up to Fury Gap and then shifted over to the east side of the gap to descend on to the upper Franklin. A three-day storm then pounded us as we struggled along the Franklin Glacier to reach its snout and then along the north side of the Franklin River to the logging camp at Knight Inlet. Alec Dalgleish’s memorial cairn at Ice-fall Point and an encounter with a grizzly along the abandoned (washed out) logging road to Knight Inlet highlighted this part of our trip.

R.D. Caughron

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