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North America, Canada, Mount Lees, Purcells and Ibex Peak, North Cascades

Mount Lees, Purcells and Ibex Peak, North Cascades. A change in the weather forecast for the Purcells moved Fred Beckey, Eric Bjornstad, and me to turn north to Cranbrook, B.C. Fred’s memory banks of climbing objectives came up with the fine northeast buttress of Mount Lees (9750 feet) in the Findlay Group. With the car stashed far up Findlay Creek, we backtracked to the airport to helicopter onto a perch above Granite Creek. On the morning of July 19 we easily reached the glacier above and traversed toward the prominent rib which led to the base of the buttress above. From the bergschrund we moved up thin snow ramps to the base of the rock buttress itself. Four fine rock pitches led to the summit (IV, 5.8). Omnious clouds caused us to descend the route quickly, and we broke camp immediately. Our dash down into Granite Creek was in the rain through avalanche debris and trail-less marsh. Fording raging creeks, sloshing through bogs, and fighting brush began the two days of the 27-mile hike out. A week later another patch of good weather and Fred’s “in” with the lumber company for the key to a gate halfway up the 17-mile lumber road from Yale, B.C., brought Eric and me into the beautiful setting of the Anderson River Group of the North Cascades with its domes and slabs of clean granite. On the morning of July 30, after a three-hour bash over boulders and through brush, we reached the saddle between Steinbok and Ibex (6600 feet) and began third- classing brushy ramps to the base of the slabs to the left of the ridge itself. Working at first up grooves and later cracks, we attained a dihedral on the crest of the ridge, which was climbed basically to the summit (IV, 5.9). Returning home, the 1982 C.A.J., page 60, revealed that the first ascent was made by Robin Barley and Pete Shakleton and the second ascent by John Howe and Dave Fulton. Our ascent must have followed another line because we saw no evidence of previous climbing.

Theodore P. (Sam) Streibert