•Trip Report


Aug 2, 2002: Jonathan Kriegel and I drive to Golden, B.C., and learn of very serious accident on Sir Donald involving our planned climbing partners (Stephane Durocher and Matt Brown; complicated helicopter rescue by Don McTighe since S.D. sustained multiple injuries). We scramble to make new plans and recruit Chic Scott to join us.

Aug 3: Gear up with Chic; plant car near McMurdo Hut.

Aug 4: Fly to International Basin Hut with same pilot who carried out the helicopter rescue on Sir Donald. Scramble up Mt Sibbald.

Aug 5: Climb a peak we THOUGHT was David Peak. It wasn't. The route was tricky. Three pitches of mixed climbing with little protection.

Aug 6: Rain and snow. Explore a little.

Aug 7. Climb International Peak (10150'). Two belayed pitches on snow. Rest was third-class rock. Great summit.

Aug 8. Jonathan and I climb David Peak (named for David Hope-Simpson, my sister's father-in-law, who did it in 1946) via West Ridge. One nice 5.6 pitch at the top.

Aug 9. All to Horseman/Malachite col, a long way, and Jonathan and I climbed Horseman Spire, with a great 5.6 pitch to the summit.

Aug 10. Hike out to McMurdo Hut and the car.

More Details

Personnel:  Stan Wagon, 51, Colorado; Jonathan Kriegel, 45, Colorado; Chic Scott, 57, Calgary

Friday Aug 2, 2002   Jonathan and I drive 1300 miles to Golden over 1.5 days. On our arrival at the Arl Motel we receive the shocking news that the two climbers who were supposed to join us were just involved in a very serious accident on Mt Sir Donald. They had climbed Edith Cavell, Temple, Victoria, and Skyladder in the previous two weeks, and they summitted Sir D., but Stephane Durocher fell as they were simul-climbing on descent and suffered two broken wrists, a skull fracture (he was wearing a helmet), and severe lacerations to his face. He spent the night alone in a snowstorm and was helicoptered off the ridge by Don McTighe in a challenging rescue operation in foggy weather the next morning. He is recovering well now. Details below.

I called Chic Scott and invited him to fill out our party and he accepted, driving up the next day. But then Don McTighe was very pessimistic about our hoped-for landing near Malloy Igloo, so we needed an alternate plan. We decided to go to the new hut in International Basin, the approximate halfway route on the Rogers Pass to Bugaboos line. We had no reservations so we took a tent.

Saturday: Chic arrives and we plant my Ford near McMurdo Hut with chicken wire around it for porcupine protection.

Sunday: Fly in early in somewhat cloudy weather. A party is at the hut so we set up the tent. They were gone in one day and we moved into the hut. The night had much rain and snow so we were grateful that they (led by Doug Charlton; they were in there for hut maintenance) let us in for dinner. Very kind and hospitable. The entire group of 9 hiked towards Mt Sibbald in the afternoon, and we three and two of them summitted.

Monday: Cloudy but not bad. We climbed an unnamed peak by a scary route! We thought we were on David Peak, but for several reasons (map error, compass error (guidebook says "compass directions confused"), our error, wrong altitudes on map and in guidebook) we were wrong. Anyway, we found a gully through a cliff band and I led three pitches to its top on snow-covered loose rock with crampons on; very little protection. The third pitch was scary as at the top -- the last two of my three slings had come off, there was no chance of other protection, and my steps in the snow were collapsing. But I scrabbled up -- crampons work on lots of surfaces, from rock, to loose sand and mud, to snow to ice -- to a flat area, belayed the other two up (they would climb one behind the other so as to maximize speed and rope length) and we then climbed a 5-foot ice cliff to gain the flat summit ridge. Descent by a different (easy) route to the west.

Tuesday: Rain (and snow) day. Jonathan and I explored the route to the Carbonate Icefield for about 3 hours.

Wednesday: All three of us climbed International Peak, at 10150' the highest peak in the region. Two belayed snow pitches to gain the ridge and then 3rd class with a small amount of fourth class to the top. Followed goat tracks in the snow. I saw two goats on the far side of the summit. We descended by the glacier on the front side, and down to the col separating the lobes of the Carbonate Icefield. I recall having difficulty here in 1990 when we skied it late in the day over ice-covered rocks. It was neat being back in that terrain. Chic's feet stay dry in his plastic boots, but Jonathan and I are soaked in leather and we grateful that the hut has a wood stove to dry things out.  9:45 round trip; 4400' climb.

Thursday: Jonathan and I head off to the David-Cony ridge, since I spotted a good route to the ridge on our descent of Monday. We thought we were going to climb Cony, since we had David on Monday. The map is clear that Cony is higher than David and at the top today, it is clear we are at the highest peak around, so it seemed like we must be atop Cony, since the guidebook and map have David being 200' lower than Cony. They are simply wrong. The compass was not much help. But from various views of the ridge and other info. it became clear during the week that this was indeed David Peak. I will interview my sister's father-in-law, David Hope-Simpson of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, to get his comments on the peak that he climbed in 1946. It seems as it that was the first summit in the Purcells north of the Bugaboo region and south of the Golden region that was climbed, so it has some historical interest. It has a beautiful snow line on its east (steep), and that is how David and his partner climbed it. I doubt they used a rope. Our rock route was easy until the final summit cliff, at which point there was a fun 5.6 pitch to the top. There was an old rappel sling there, as well as a very large cairn. Views were great. We descended the same way. 8:00 round-trip; 3000' climb.

Friday: We all headed towards the Horseman-Malachite col at the south end of the Carbonate Icefield. This took a while, involving a lot of plodding through new snow, as there was 12 inches of new snow from three recent storms. At the col Jonathan and I went for Horseman Spire (9850'). Jonathan led a 5.4 pitch and we scrambled over to the intimidating-looking cliff protecting the summit. That had two tricky sections that I rate as 5.6. We carried rock shoes, but never put them on. There was a rappel sling (guide Tom Raudaschl's) near the summit. I spoke to Tom later and he said that even though Malachite looks steeper, Horseman is the more interesting peak to climb; he guides it from Bobbie Burns Lodge with a helicopter landing near the peak. We could see the Bugaboos from here, and also Sir Donald. Very nice to see the entire 90 miles of the Rogers Pass-to-Bugaboos ski route in one view. A small peak was key to our identification of peaks across the Duncan River -- a ski peak called Little Ahab near Battle Abbey is very distinctive. Of course, the views in all directions, especially the west and southwest, are of peaks and glaciers, so there is a nice feeling of remoteness and massive wilderness here. The walk back was, as usual, wet on our feet, but straightforward. 11 hours r.t; 4000' climb.

Saturday: It was very tricky to find a good route to the International/McMurdo col, with lots of small up-and-down. How in the world did we ski this in reverse 12 years ago going only down? And at the col we descended in the obvious way and ended up in a horrendous bushwhack to McMurdo Hut. There was a trail we found near the end, but we had no idea that this existed, nor how to look for it from the alpine terrain above. When we arrived at the car there was a troubling, unsigned note under the windshield: "Found porcupine under vehicle. Wire down on passenger side." And four porky quills were under the windshield too. Fortunately, there seemed to be no damage to the car.

Converted by Mathematica  (December 26, 2002)