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North America, Canada, British Columbia, Selkirks, East Peak of the Gothics, Southwest Face, Adamant Peaks

East Peak of the Gothics, Southwest Face, Adamant Peaks, Northern Selkirks. Fred Beckey, Jan Schwarzburg and I made the first ascent of the impressive southwest face of the east peak of the Gothics (10,640 feet) on July 24 to 26 (V, 5.9, A2). An attempt on the 1700-foot wall by Beckey and me had been cut short in early August of 1980 by a week of snow in an unseasonably wet year. A surprise snowfall during a bivouac on a second attempt that same year forced us to make a hasty retreat down rapidly icing ropes. In 1981 and again in 1983, Sam Streibert joined Beckey and me as we sought in vain for favorable conditions for the ascent. In 1984, with time at a premium, we contracted a logging company helicopter to lift us and our equipment onto the Adamant Glacier, about two hours from the southwest face. On the night of the second bivouac, storm clouds fingered with lightning were seen approaching from the south. With the last vertical lead fixed the evening before, we ascended the lines and arrived at the elusive summit at five A.M. on July 26 as lightning struck the nearby peaks of the Adamants. A rapid descent was begun. On the fourth of 15 rappels, a severe hail squall passed over the mountain, turning the entire southwest face into a waterfall of ice pellets. In mid-rappel, I took a dramatic 30-foot sideward plunge across the slick rock before regaining control and completing the hazardous descent.

Eric Bjørnstad