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

North America, Canada, Selkirk Range, East Peak of the Gothics, Ostrogoth

Selkirk Range, East Peak of the Gothics, Ostrogoth. Unlike the crowded nearby Bugaboos, the Adamant and Gothic Peaks, with high-quality objectives up to 600m, see but a handful of visits a year. On August 6 Steve Swenson and I established Ostrogoth, an 11-pitch rock route on the sunny south face of the East Peak of the Gothics (3,231m). Ostrogoth lies to the left (west) of the 2001 Ike-Walsh and the 1983 Brillembourg-Cole routes.

The climbing was characteristically on steep, clean, finegrained splitter granite, consistently around 5.9. After ascending the major rightward-ascending snow ramp to avoid the lower compact wall, we traversed back left in a short snow gully to reach the rock. One traversing pitch (5.4) on loose rock brought us to the main corner system that we had scoped the previous day. The crux pitch (5.10d) followed, involving heart-racing overhanging hands-to-fingers jamming on the side of an ominous wedged flake. Three pitches of sustained and near-vertical crack climbing (5.9, 5.8, 5.10a) put us at the same height as (and to the right of) a major pinnacle on the south face. A chimney pitch followed, which involved an exciting finish (5.10b) to surmount a massive chockstone at its top. The angle then relented, giving way to a short 5.9 corner pitch and a 4th-class scramble past a loose but easy white feldspar band. After traversing left for 60m onto the west face, we crossed a snow gully and climbed a short, steep chimney (5.10a) to gain easier ground and the summit ridge.

Many of the Gothic peaks have tall, sunny south faces but short, snowy north faces, making for quick, easy descents. We descended the easy Northwest Ridge (Ferris-Kauffman-Putman, 1948) in two rappels and some down-climbing to reach the Gothics Glacier, Thor pass, and base camp by dark.

Jeremy Frimer, Canada