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North America, Canada, Adamant Range, Gothic Peak, South Face; The Stickle, South Face

Gothic Peak, south face; The Stickle, south face. Fred Beckey recruited and led our party from Squamish and Pemberton, B.C. into the Adamant Range this summer. The trip produced two new high-quality free climbs on good granite. Our first and main objective was Gothic Peak. Fred's photo of its aesthetic virgin south face helped inspire us to board the chopper and do our duty by exploring the vertical world. Andre Ike and I found a continuous dihedral system that went for six pitches up the southeast corner, before hitting the fat white feldspar band that wraps the entire summit. An upward and leftward traverse through this band led to an exit corner and the summit, eight pitches later. The climbing went free at 5.11a, with the crux on the first pitch, although a 5.10+ offwidth on the third pitch provided the most entertainment.

A good variety of corner cracks and face climbing made up the rest of the route.

Later that week John Chilton and Lisa Korthals climbed four new pitches up the south face of The Stickle. Their attention then turned elsewhere (base camp in Thor Meadows is a distracting place), and they offered the unfinished Stickle line to Andre and me. We obliged, and by late afternoon the next day we were on its summit, with Lisa and Johnny yodeling at us from the summit of neighboring Mt. Adamant. The route followed a steep, crescent-shaped corner for three pitches of 5.10 to a ridge, for two pitches of mid- fifth, and finally a beautifully exposed headwall for two more ropelengths with moves up to 5.11-. This put us in a little notch on the summit ridge where we discovered a perfect 5.9 handrail that led directly to the summit. We each led and down-led this pitch, as there was little available for an anchor on the summit, and the notch was the ideal spot to rappel from. That night, and for the second time that week, we had the pleasure of experiencing darkness through the sketchy maze of crevasses on the Adamant Glacier. It’s amazing how fast snow bridges and footprints melt at 30 degrees in the middle of August. For topos and more info on these routes, check out Dave Jones’ new guidebook, Selkirks North, due out in spring 2002.

Jon Walsh