Latus Pass Arm, various ascents and attempts. There are four main tributaries on the south side of Kaskawulsh Glacier: South Arm, Stairway, Cascade, and, farthest from Slims River, the Latus Pass Arm. In July we made a short visit to the Latus Pass Arm, to evaluate its potential as a site for an Alpine Club of Canada Centennial Camp in 2006.
As ski-touring terrain, the Latus Pass Arm is well-known because it provides an excellent route from the upper Hubbard/upper Kaska-wulsh iceshed, via the Latus Pass, to the upper Lowell Glacier and the country lying beyond to the south and east. However, as a mountaineering area it has received littleattention, probably because of the poor rock quality and the lack of major peaks, with Kaslowhub (3,700m) being the highest. The area was first explored by Bradford Washburn’s 1935 Lowell Glacier Expedition. The first ascents appeared to have been made in 1961 by a large Seattle Mountaineers party. Since then a number of peaks have been climbed.
Our plan in 2003 was to place a base camp at 2,600m and explore the side glaciers and mountains at the head (southern end) of the Latus Pass Arm Glacier. However, due to unfavorable weather and poor flying/landing conditions, Andy Williams had to drop us off at 2,350m, eight kilometers north of our intended base. During our stay it snowed or rained, with fog and/or whiteout on seven of the nine climbing days. We only had freezing temperatures on three nights, and the frozen surface was gone by noon.
We completed the following climbs: Point 3,030m: first ascent, via southwest ridge; Simon Carr, Bill McKenzie. Point 3,060m: first ascent via north cirque and west ridge; Roger Wallis, Ted Rosen, Bill McKenzie, Simon Carr, Mark McDermott. Point 2,690m: first ascent, via west slope; Mark McDermott, Simon Carr. Point 2,810m: first ascent, via south ridge; Paul Geddes. Point 3,370m: first ascent, via southeast ridge from east col; Paul Geddes, Willa Harasym, Ted Rosen, Roger Wallis. Mt. Kaslowhub (3,700m): 4th ascent(?), via north-northeast ramp, and ski descent (4,000'); Paul Geddes, Willa Harasym, Ted Rosen. East Peak (2,930m): 2nd ascent, via south ridge; Roger Wallis.
Climbs attempted but not completed: Point 3,050m: via south col and south ridge; Paul Geddes, Willa Harasym, Ted Rosen. Point 3,170m: via north cirque and east ridge; Roger Wallis, Ted Rosen, Bill McKenzie, Simon Carr, Mark McDermott. Point 3,340m: via southwst cirque and south ridge; Bill McKenzie, Simon Carr, Mark McDermott. Point 3,020m: via east ridge; Bill McKenzie and Simon Carr.
The Latus Pass area has a number of moderately challenging peaks in the height range 2,900-3,700m, many of which remain unclimbed. There are attractive snow-and-ice routes, but the rock quality is appalling, and some of the snow-and-ice routes are threatened by seracs, crevasse systems, and cornices. Really cold nights with hard frozen snow are required to make climbing safe and enjoyable. Hence early June might be the best time for climbing.
Roger Wallis, Toronto Section, Alpine Club of Canada