AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, Canada, Coast Mountains, Mt. Joffre, Smell the Roses

Mt. Joffre, Smell the Roses. Joffre’s northeast face has a nice chimney/gully line, just left of the central pillar. It rimes up well in winter, with just enough snow and ice to be tempting. On my first attempt, with Mike Spagnut and Andrew Port, in early April 2000, we climbed four pitches to where the chimney steepens to vertical.

On the second attempt, in April, John Millar joined me. We were highly motivated: the route had been a skeleton in my closet for two years. The first few pitches were as challenging as before; clearing snow off the rock and searching out cracks for pro kept the mental challenge high. Three rope-stretching leads took us back up to the previous high point. It was getting dark, so we fixed the rope and descended one pitch to a snow cone, where we were hoping to excavate a bivy ledge.

We kicked and hacked through the ice and snow to create a 12-foot-long bench with room for two. Around midnight the spindrift valve was opened. My legs were buried, and our ledge started filling up with snow. The comfort level wasn’t high. Finally morning arrived.

We regained our high point and delved upward into the steeper upper chimneys. I surprised myself with Rockies-like mixed moves up an overhang, moves I certainly wouldn’t have tried if the gear hadn’t been good. The next pitch was even more formidable. John had to resort to aid. He then belayed me from a perfect hip jam in a strange hueco. More good mixedmoves and a smidgen of good ice gave way to the upper snow couloirs. A last mixed pitch and then a steep snow arête led directly to the summit.

Whiteout conditions and the onset of dark almost tricked us into spending another night out. But the old ski-touring trick of tossing a bright-colored stuffsack ahead gave us enough definition to make out the snow surface.

This route (Smell the Roses, 500m, V M7-, some aid) has eight mixed pitches, and is certainly another good line on one of British Columbia’s most accessible alpine peaks. The protection is natural yet sufficient; and the climbing is of great quality for Coast Range winter alpinism.

Guy Edwards, Unemployed