North America, Canada, Northern Selkirk Mountains, Adamant Group, Colossal, Flight of the Prototype; Pole Dance Tower, First Ascent

Publication Year: 2004.

Geographical note: The Adamant Group, sometimes mistakenly called the Adamant Range or Mountains, is a subgroup of the Northern Selkirks. Thanks to David P. Jones, author of the Selkirks North and Selkirks South guidebooks, for the clarification and assistance with Selkirk information.

Colossal, Flight of the Prototype; Pole Dance Tower, first ascent. In August Vera Schulte Pelkum and I were honored to go climbing with guides from the CMH Adamant Lodge in the granitic Adamant Range, north of the more famous Bugaboos. We used a helicopter to access the remote range and, with the Canadian guide Erich Unterberger, were able to do the first ascent of Pole Dance Tower at 5.9+ in four pitches. It is the northernmost tower on the unclimbed northwest ridge of Colossal. We climbed the west ridge of the tower, starting from a notch where the granite meets underlying sedimentary choss. We named the formation in honor of the Canadians’ ability to throw a raging party just about anywhere. The longer face to the south promises long and excellent climbs.

North of Unicorn Peak sits Colossal, a peak with a sheer south face that was unclimbed at the time of our visit. After two efforts Erich, Vera, and I managed a free route on superb rock to the top of the 400m face, entailing two pitches of 5.12 and several exciting 5.11 sections. The route starts in the center of the face and angles right into clean corners before veering back left to top out just to the south of the summit. We named it Flight of the Prototype, after a 10m whipper Vera took on our first attempt.

Topher Donahue