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North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Mount Woolley, South Face

Mount Woolley, South Face. After hair-raising experiences on the road, Karl Gerdes, Rob Boyd, Chris Jones, Jim Sedinger, Tom Kemp and I crossed the cold and swift waters of the Sunwapta River bound for Mount Alberta. Woolley shoulder is something every climber should experience. Unbelievable loose rock and steep snow lead to one of the most dramatic vistas imaginable. Directly ahead as you crest the shoulder rises the north face of North Twin. Easy glacier walking brings one to a high bivouac looking across to the east face of Alberta and in this particular instance to a constant stream of avalanches after nearly a month of bad weather. A brief reconnaissance persuaded us to give Alberta time to settle down. We set our sights on an ice slope splitting the south face of Mount Woolley. This proved an enjoyable day. Although the slope never exceeded 60°, vertical sérac-like formations to the left allowed for excitement. The climb was longer than we expected, or we were slower than we should have been, and we got to the summit only late in the afternoon. Whether this route had been done before we were unable to discover. We never got a try at Mount Alberta as clouds settled over the mountain and us.

Brock A. Wagstaff