North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Turret Mountain and Mount Geikie, The Ramparts

Publication Year: 1980.

Turret Mountain and Mount Geikie, The Ramparts. After encountering the typical Mount Robson weather in which Chris Jones and I were blown off the Kain Face and finally settled for the normal route, we joined George Lowe and Dean Hannibal for a week in the Ramparts. This rugged group of mountains rises out of the beautiful Tonquin Valley, and despite relatively easy access, has had little climbing activity. Fred Beckey, true to form, climbed many of the most prominent north face lines in the mid 1960’s, but bypassed two of the largest peaks, Mount Geikie and Turret Mountain. It was in the north faces of these two that we were most interested. With a minimum of time and nearly perfect weather, we split up to attempt both mountains, Chris and I to do Turret, and George and Dean, Geikie. The line we chose on Turret began on the left side of the prominent north buttress, and ascended steep rock (F8, Al) to the prow of the buttress. Devious route-finding, and sometimes loose rock, led up generally easy climbing, and we bivouacked at about the two-thirds point on the mountain. On the next day we found increased mixed climbing, with ice to 60°, as we turned the final headwall on the right. The summit was reached at five P.M. On the descent, we again bivouacked, and spent most of the following day rappelling and down-climbing steep and loose gullies on the southwest face. We arrived at our Base Camp on Moat Lake as the sun set. It should be noted that although the route we used to descend seemed to coincide with the route indicated in the Guide as the original one done on the mountain, we found no evidence of this. And it seems unlikely that, given a number of free rappels and almost a full day descending, the original ascent could have been done in four and a half hours! At least in that particular location. (NCCS V, F8, A1 and mixed.) Most of the next several days were occupied scanning the face of Geikie for our over-due partners. Having encountered difficult and continuous climbing (NCCS VI, F9, A3 and mixed), they had spent four days in the ascent, and another day and a half descending the complicated southeast face. What they came away with is perhaps the finest route done in the region to date, having traced a direct line to the summit up a thin, steep rib in the middle of the huge north face.

Brock Wagstaff