American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Coast Mountains, Waddington Range, Various Activity

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Waddington Range, Various Activity. The wettest spring on record drifted into a pretty scruffy summer, but four noteworthy new routes, including Dave Hesleden and Simon Richardson’s; (see below) and one significant “completion” got done in breaks when the weather settled down a bit. In late July, Greg Foweraker and Sigg Isaac spent a week or so getting chased around the Upper Tellot Glacier by clouds while looking for “big rock.” They got stormed off the northwest side of Stiletto Peak (3397m) only two or three pitches from the top, but did manage to put up a very powerful new line on the east face of McCormick Needle (ca. 2960m). Highland Fling (IV 5.11+/12, seven pitches) follows crack systems about 50 meters left of the prominent Last Tango on the Tellot dihedral toward a huge detached block. This was bypassed via hand and finger cracks on the left, the continuations of which were followed to the top. Three roofs were overcome, one of which provided the crux, which was enlivened by a bit of doggin’.

Sean Easton and Dave Edgar tackled the rocks of the true crest of the right-hand rib on the northeast face of Waddington later in August. They climbed about a dozen pitches before reaching the lower-angled upper crest. The bottom two-thirds was on great rock (at 5.7 to 5.8, with one short A1 section), but the rock deteriorated for the final two or three leads. The crux was a 5.9 pitch on poor rock. The earlier Michael Down-Bruce Kay Northeast Spur line (which angled in from the right) was joined on the snowcrest, and (as previously) a variety of seracs (ice to 90°) and crevasses on the upper glacier were overcome or out-foxed to gain the base of the summit tower. Unfortunately, bad weather forestalled any summit attempt, and the pair bailed via the Bravo Glacier (IV 5.9 A1 AI4, 1200m).

One final new route capped a fine Indian Summer spell in September. Michael Down and Mike White choppered into the Upper Tellot Glacier and spent a day fixing a rappel descent and traverse (difficult) from the top col on the glacier down into the north (Radiant Glacier) face of Serra Three before returning to camp. The following morning they repeated their unusual approach to climb The Hose (III WI3, 350m), the beautiful ice-line on the upper north face of Serra Three. There were six pitches in the couloir, the last three of them being a continuous three-meter wide runnel of perfect 70-75° Grade III waterfall ice in a corridor of beautiful granite. Three further rope lengths led to the summit, where the pair bivied. All that remained was to rap off in the morning, throw camp into the returned helicopter, and fly home.

A final climb is worthy of note. David Hughes led a large B.C. Mountaineering Club party into the Radiant Glacier in late July, and six of them (including David and his son, Eric) completed the North Ridge of Tiedemann (3848m) by linking a previously climbed east-side couloir to a completion up the old 1961 Harvard route on the middle and upper ridges. Given the difficulty of passage through the Radiant Glacier icefall and the seeming-impassability of the original Harvard west-side approach, this plainly is the logical way of tackling this huge (1400m) feature, which is one of the outstanding moderate mountaineering features of the range, and unjustifiably ignored.

Don Serl

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