American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Mount Edith Cavell, North Face, Two New Routes

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

Mount Edith Cavell, North Face, Two New Routes. July 21 was Colorado’s big day on Edith Cavell. There was a pair from Boulder who did the classic Jones-Faint-Chouinard route on the same day as our two parties made new routes. Harry Kent and I were the team on the“McKeith Spur,” named for Bugs McKeith, who had just been killed on Mount Assiniboine. Our route was to the right of the classic route. Jon Krakauer, Mark Hesse and Joe Hladock did their new route starting at the upper lefthand corner of the Angel Glacier, ending at the east summit. Both teams started at midnight and climbed the center ice tongue of the Angel Glacier by headlamp. This was a quick way to the upper glacier, but it was the technical ice-climbing crux and slightly dangerous. We had séracs collapse on both sides. After we got to the Angel Glacier plateau at four A.M., we went our separate ways. Harry and I sat for an hour, looking for a logical line. We were scared, principally because it was so warm. We could see an ugly rockfall scar to the left of our climb which had happened the day before. Our route was protected by a buttress of rock a third of the way up the face. From there an obvious spur led to the last 300 feet of the climb, a steep ice slope to the top. The rock climbing on the lower third was excellent, mostly 5.4 with two 5.7 pitches that were well protected. We did 300-foot pitches on a 9mm rope. Once on the spur the climbing was 5.0 with some 50° to 60° ice. We arrived on top at four P.M. and were back in camp at eleven P.M. (NCCS V, F7.) The other new route was done to a great extent unroped. They stayed in shallow gullies, following ice most of the way. They put the rope on in the upper face when a large rock hit Joe nearly causing him a fatal fall. They continued on to the summit and bivouacked on the way down. They had to endure one of the worst electrical storms ever, which lasted some four hours. (NCCS V.)

Larry Bruce, Elk Mountain Climbing Club

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