American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Western Canada, Mount Austerity, North Ridge, Nester Route, Selkirks

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Mount Austerity, North Ridge, Nester Route, Selkirks. Earlyn Church’s obituary for Ed Nester in A.A.J., 1979 called the route he was attempting “elegant.” On July 30 Jules Bede and I completed the route Ed had conceived and attempted in 1968 (bad weather), in 1972 (turned back because of an accident on Mount Colossal) and finally in 1978 when he fell to his death. Earlyn’s evaluation proved accurate. Like the climber for whom it is named, the route combines all aspects of mountaineering: ice for six to eight pitches at 40° to 55°, rock for ten pitches and interspaced between the rock, a classic snow arête. From the lower Turret Glacier we crossed right into the amphitheater formed by the northeast and northwest arms of Austerity’s north ridge. We climbed an ice-and-snow gully to the northeast ridge. We moved right and up on fractured rock to the snow arête. Above the snow we had moderate class-5 rock to the final steep nose, where we went right. We used a sling on a horn (A1) to gain a small face, then down-climbed 15 feet to a chimney system which leads back to the ridge crest. Easy class-5 and class-4 took us to the cairn marking the junction with the 1967 east-face route. (NCCS III-IV, F7, A1.)

Robert B. Hall

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