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North America, Canada, Recent Ascents in the Selkirk Range

Recent Ascents in the Selkirk Range. During the last 25 years there have been only six brief reports of new routes in the Selkirk Range published in the AAJ. Based on this publication history, readers might easily conclude that there is little activity of note in the range. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a small group of Selkirk aficionados who have been very active throughout the area. Researching new climbs for a revised guidebook to the Selkirks, this author has compiled a list of over 200 first ascents that have not been previously reported. Many climbs are relatively easy, general mountaineering routes, and many peaks have remained unclimbed.

Despite the growing network of logging roads that penetrate most major valleys, approaches in the Selkirks often require significant bushwhacking to reach the alpine climbs. Alternate access is provided by helicopter, usually with the services of Don McTighe Alpine Helicopters in Golden. However, there remain many fine new routes within a stone’s throw of the TransCanada Highway.

R. Cox, R. DeBeyer and K. Sellers climbed the imposing Northeast Buttress (V 5.8+) of Sir Donald. There has also been considerable activity further afield in the Battle Range to the south of the Rogers Pass. Perhaps the most outstanding route is on the 230-meter high Yes Please Spire, located on the northern margin of Ohno Wall, Moby Dick. G. Foweraker and T. McAllister climbed the northwest and west face (IV 5.10) of this spire on a sea of chicken heads.

The northern Selkirks have also yielded a number of fine new routes. C. Ellis and C. Molder climbed the Direct South Face of Mt. Tupper (IV 5.10+). In the same area, R. Beglinger and G. Tannis made the first ascent of the North Buttress (IV 5.10a) of Hermit Mountain.

Peaks in the Bigmouth drainage to the north have also seen activity. In the Argonaut Group, A. Bowers and B. Thomas climbed the west ridge (IV 5.10a) of the Unnamed Pinnacle on the west ridge of Argonaut.

This past summer saw considerable activity in the Adamant-Gothics area of the northern Selkirks. G. Foweraker and T. McAllister forged a new line, Virgin Sacrifice (IV 5.10c A2), up the south face of Montezuma’s Finger, while T. Craig and P. Oxtoby persevered for four days on a new route (VI 5.10 A2) up the south face of Adamant. The elusive summit of the Stickle was gained by T. Pochay and D. Scott, who climbed a fine line on the south face and east ridge (IV 5.10 A2).

Gibraltar saw G. Foweraker and T. McAllister climb the Southeast Buttress (IV 5.10+ A2). These and many other new routes will be more fully documented in revised guidebooks to the north and south Selkirks, the first of which should appear by late spring 2001.

David P. Jones, Canada