American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Coast Range, Mount Pattullo

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

Mount Pattullo. It is remarkable that Mount Pattullo, the highest peak in the considerable span between the Seven Sisters Range and the Stikine River, had never been climbed. Although the mountain is near Stewart and the summit is only about eight miles from the roadway at Bear River Pass, its defenses are considerable. The mountain’s high point is guarded by glacier valleys, precipitous cliffs, and dense brush. The logical winter and spring approach, from Bowser Lake, has access problems in the form of streams, brush, and canyons. After being frustrated by poor weather in 1984, I returned to the mountain in May, 1985. Mark Hutson, Mike Boussenault, and I took a chopper trip to the glacier on the southeast flank of the mountain. After climbing to about 8000 feet, a whiteout and bad weather set in rapidly. The forecast of fine weather did not materialize. We skied out in one very long day. In early July, Alex Bertulis, Stimson Bullitt, and I returned to the area, this time with the promise of continuing fine weather. We made a short helicopter trip to the glacier on the west flank of the summit (the Bowser Lake drainage), then donned crampons for a truly rewarding glacier climb to the 8955-foot summit. We chose a route that involved a steep gully, then a spectacular summit ridge. A trace of new snow made the surface very white and glistening. We descended from the summit by the south ridge. Our route back to the mining road southeast of the mountain involved a long glacier traverse after crossing an ice pass, then a descent of a valley glacier. We were impressed with the spectacular nature of this little- visited region. Mount Pattullo alone has some 26 glaciers, and on nearby peaks are a number of impressive bodies of ice, including the Frank Mackie, Berendon, and Salmon Glaciers, and the Cambria Icefield.

Fred Beckey

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