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North America, Canada, Northwest Territories, Mount Proboscis, Crazy Horse

Mount Proboscis, Crazy Horse. On July 30, pilot Warren LaFave flew Simon Elias (Spain), Chad McMullen and me onto Glacier Lake below the Cirque of the Unclimbables. LaFave arranged a helicopter to then fly us, and our mountain gear, to the base of Mount Proboscis. After establishing camp near the base of the wall, we fixed the first three pitches of the route and waited for the rain to stop. After a week waiting out the rain we realized we could spend the rest of the trip waiting for good weather. We ascended our fixed ropes and prepared for a very wet stay on the wall. However, luck was with us — the next day dawned clear and blue. After the ice stopped falling from the summit we got down to business. It became very apparent that the "beautiful cracks" we had spied from the ground were nothing more than very thin shallow grooves. We managed a pitch a day for the first three days. After about 600 feet the cracks began to open up and allowed free climbing with the occasional stretch of aid, 500 feet of which brought us to a roof about two-thirds of the way up the route. We moved camp up to there in favor of the protection it would provide if and when the weather returned. Above the roof two beautiful pitches of aid brought us to a blank section of the wall. A pendulum into a beautiful hand crack proved the solution. From there the way to the top was clean. Moderate free climbing with a point or two of aid led to the narrow airy summit, completing the fifth ascent of the face and the fourth route. Six rappels down our route brought us back to the sanctuary of our bivy under the roof. The next day clouds rolled in; nine more quick rappels down our route and the climb was truly over. The ascent required eight days to complete in capsule style. We named the route Crazy Horse in memory of all the dirty Spanish jokes we were told while waiting for the sun. We'd like to thank Warren LaFave for his hospitality, generosity and just generally going out of his way to help make three climbers on a budget's trip a success.

Jeff Selvig, unaffiliated