Mt. King George, east face, Elzinga-Welsted
Canada, Canadian Rockies
On September 15, 2012, Jim Elzinga and I went to the beautiful Height of the Rockies Provincial Park in British Columbia and completed a moderate gem on Mt. King George (3,422m), having made two previous attempts on the route.
To reach the route, we approached via the King George Glacier, staying left of the hanging glacier higher up the face. We started as for the east face route (Campbell-Nagy-Varnam, 1984) then began climbing the right-most gully, which is left of the large seracs on the right side of the face. Depending on the temperature and state of the ice, one can either climb an ice gully or rock. When we climbed the route in mid-September, there was no ice on this lower part of the route, although there had been on previous attempts. Above, we continued up a snowy gully with occasional easy ice steps to a band of mixed climbing. We climbed a long pitch of mixed terrain with scant pro (M4 R) to an obvious overhang barring the way. In colder conditions an ice pillar formed here and could be climbed directly. Lacking the pillar, we traversed 5m left to another gully system, climbing 30m before moving up and right into a narrower gully for an additional 30m. The gully widens above, and a mix of snow and ice steps lead toward the last technical pitch, a WI3+ pitch in a large corner. We continued a few hundred meters to the summit ridge to complete the Elzinga-Welsted (IV 5.6 WI3+ M4 R). We descended via the normal route to the Queen Mary–King George col, and did a couple of rappels to the glacier.