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North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Mount Chown and P 9600

Mount Chown and P 9600. The peaks northwest of Mount Robson more than a day distant from the Berg Lake Trail are seldom visited these days, but a passable trail continues north along the Smoky River, portions of which are well built and maintained. During the last week of July, a large group under the leadership of Hans Gmoser and me planned a high-level traverse from Mount Bess out to Kinney Lake. Hans’ helicopter put us down on an alpine shoulder east of Mount Bess on the 26th. The party included Dave Henley, Geoff Dougherty, Sam Goodhue, Doug Fitzgerald, Roger Laurilla and Hans’ two sons, Conrad and Robson. The latter hoped at last to see the mountain for which he was named. On July 27 six of us made a new route by ascending the full length of the Chown Glacier in a six-hour push. The crevasses were fairly obvious and usually well bridged, but soft snow for the final thousand feet made for very tedious going. We were met back in camp by Roger Laurilla, Sam Goodhue and Conrad Gmoser, who had successfully completed the first ascent of P 9600, two miles southeast of Chown. Their route was straightforward by the south ridge and involved no technical difficulties. Unsettled weather kept us from completing the high-level exit to Kinney Lake, but between pieces of old trail, gravel, bushwhacks and good fortune, we reached Robson Pass in 2½ easy days. There, to the undisguised joy of 12-year- old Robson Gmoser, the skies cleared, revealing the spectacular snow-covered north face of Mount Robson. The next day, doomed again to dampness, we escaped to the highway.

William L. Putnam