American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park, Mt. Asgard, Scott Route, and Various Beta

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Mt. Asgard, Scott Route, and Various Beta. In early August, Jeff Bowman and I climbed the 1974 Scott Route on the southeast buttress of Mt. Asgard with two bivouacs (owing to a 4 p.m. start). Because of the relative popularity of this route, we thought we’d pass along a few observations. A March, 1998, article in Climbing magazine claims the Scott Route is 40 pitches; 24 is closer to the mark (note: don’t bother with a 60m rope). Much worse, the route line drawn onto the Asgard photo is dangerously wrong. Instead of climbing the giant comer between the two lower buttresses (a feature nicknamed the “Death Gully” by 1970s climbers), ascend slabs to left-facing comers near the center of the southeast buttress. The first eight or so pitches (5.8) have fixed double-piton belays every 150 feet that would allow rapid retreat if the weather turns sour. The mid-section is about eight pitches of fourth-class rubble. The final eight pitches offer glorious climbing (at last!) and are generally 5.8 to 5.9 with spots of 5.10 that would be easily aidable. We didn’t attempt to free the chimney (reputedly 5.11), in part because of a tempting line of aid bolts at its edge. These self-driven bolts must have been placed in a hurry; only about half an inch of each two-inch bolt actually penetrates the rock.

In other news, Japanese climbers helicoptered onto the King’s Parade Glacier for new aid routes on the west face of Friga (see below), but the park superintendent says he will no longer permit helicopter landings in the park. If you have more money than time, consider having your food and gear snowmobiled to Summit Lake the February before your climb. We didn’t do this, but we did leave our climbing gear there to be picked up the following winter, thus saving ourselves double carries on the hike out. The 65-pound pack cost $136 for the snowmobile pickup and $238 for air cargo transport to Oregon. Make arrangements through Joavee Alivaktuk in Pangnirtung, phone and fax: 867-473-8721.

John Harlin III, Hood River Crag Rats

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