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North America, Canada, Canadian Coast Range, Doubtful Tower, Bella Coola Icecap, 1976

“Doubtful Tower,” Bella Coola Icecap, 1979. On August 20, 1979 Fred Beckey, Bill Lahr, Brad McCarroll, Roy Ratcliff and I took off from Nimpo Lake, made an airdrop at our proposed Base Camp and then were flown to Ape Lake. Our approach involved crossing the Ape Glacier to the Wardrum Glacier, which we followed up to the Mongol Glacier. After a somewhat late start on the morning of the 21st, Beckey and Lahr set off to scout possibilities on Talehomey Tower, while McCarroll and I headed for an unnamed peak northeast of Telehomey Tower on the west side of the major col between the Mongol and Jacobsen Glaciers. About halfway up the col, we dropped into a large moat and gained the northeast face of our objective. The rock was quite solid on the first few pitches but became rotten higher. We followed obvious weaknesses, mostly of F5 to F7 difficulty on loose rock. Solid anchors were few. After eight hours of continuous climbing, we reached the east ridge, where we encountered solid rock. An hour’s interesting, exposed climbing on or near the ridge crest took us to the summit. There was no sign of a previous ascent. We proposed the name “Doubtful Tower” since we doubted that we would get off by dark. We were forced to bivouac after several rappels down the face. At first light we downclimbed and rappelled the remainder of the exposed, treacherous face. No sooner had we reached the glacier than the storms were upon us, preventing any serious climbing for the rest of the week.

Mark S. Dale