American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Coast Range, Climbs and Traverses in the Mount Waddington Area

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986

Climbs and Traverses in the Mount Waddington Area, Canadian Coast Range. In the 4½ days from July 26 thru 30, Peter Croft, Greg Foweraker, and I completed the first traverse of the culmination of the Coast Mountains, the Waddington Range. Starting from a helicopter drop-off in Fury Gap at about nine P.M. (c. 2500 meters) we ascended the long northwest ridge to about 3200 meters before bivying. The next day we climbed the main summit (4019 meters) via the Angel Glacier and the regular route on the summit tower in 12 hours return. Superb snow conditions and dry, ice-free rock sped progress. Our second morning saw us down into “Combatant Col”, then up snow slopes on the west face of Combatant to its north summit, where a long bout of sunning and eating delayed us. A quick trip to the main summit (3756 meters) was followed by an even quicker descent into “Chaos Col” below the west face of Mount Tiedemann. A couple of hours on easy snow and superb rock (one belayed pitch) saw us on top (3848 meters) just as the sun blinked out in the west. We found our third bivy on a reasonably comfortable prow of rock a surprisingly complicated two hours further along the ridge, just before it starts to drop to the Asperity Col. Three hours on the morning of the 29th sufficed to gain the top of Asperity (3716 meters; again just one roped pitch), and two more hours saw us down the somewhat dangerous east face. After a couple of hours of recuperation in “Radiant Col”, we found a pleasant route up the extreme right side of the north face of Serra V, to make the second ascent 21 years after Dick Culbert and Glenn Woodsworth (4 pitches, 5.7 or 5.8). Four long, technical, dangerous rappels eventually landed us in the Serra IV-V notch, very glad to be on “terra firma” once again. A fine bivy site was constructed against the walls of Serra IV, and after a comfortable night the final day saw us climbing Serra IV (the highest Serra at about 3660 meters), Serra III, Serra II (at last sans packs, which were left at the II-III col), and finally Serra I from the upper Tollot Glacier. A finishing dusk-into-dark slog down through the slop to the Plummer Hut completed the trip, about 15 kilometers from the start. It should be mentioned that this was by no means the only activity in the Range. Just two days prior to our reaching the IV-V notch, Mike Down and John Howe had gained the same point via the imposing “IV-V” couloir on its far side. A wolverine ravaged their camp on the Radiant while they did the route! Peter Croft joined two Washingtonians, Greg Collum and Dan Cauthorn, to complete a second 4-day traverse on the south side of the Tiedemann, the much-discussed “Arabesque” traverse. Meanwhile, Barb Clemes, Tami Knight, Ian Campbell, and Rudy Brugger climbed the long northwest ridge of “the Don” on Mount Munday. Waddington itself also saw at least three further ascents, including the first repeat of the Kiwi route on the north face.

Don Serl, Alpine Club of Canada

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.