American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Coast Mountains, Mt. Judge Howay, North Face and Ski Descent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Mt. Judge Howay, north face and ski descent. At the beginning of March, Scott Murray (U.S.) and I climbed and skied the north face of Mt. Judge Howay. Judge Howay is located in the Coast Mountains in Mount Judge Howay Provincial Park, which is directly north of Stave Lake and the town of Mission, British Columbia. The route was spotted by Scott in mid-February while flying his Cessna from Abbotsford to Pemberton; he noticed unusually large amounts of snowfall on the peak and speculated about the possibility of a ski line down the north face. On February 26 we flew a recon flight and confirmed the existence of a 6,000' climbing-skiing line. On February 28 we flew in by helicopter to northeast of the park and landed in a clearing near the river. We followed the creek up to the base of the north face, where we established a camp. We started climbing at 3 a.m. the next morning, March 1, soloing the route to the summit and skiing it in 11 hours total. The route begins in the Patterson-Bauer Couloir, between the two summits of the Judge, then veers left up a hidden ramp cutting across the north face of the main summit, joining the top of the 1991 route Weenies on Trial, which climbs the Judge’s north buttress. The most difficult climbing is at the top of the ramp, requiring technical moves. The top of the ramp was the crux, and was the one section we rappelled on our descent. We skied the rest, with hard conditions and slopes in excess of 60°. This was the first winter ascent of the north face, the first ascent of the route, and the first time the mountain had been skied. Commitment level grade IV, climbing difficulty II/III.

Chris Kettles, Canada

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