Selkirk Lodge Climbing

In late July, 2005, a group of 10 of us, joined by hut mistress Grania Devine, spent a week at Selkirk Lodge. We had perfect weather and so were able to summit several peaks, including Justice, Fulgerite, and Virtue. Personnel: Stan Wagon, Joan Hutchinson, David and Vicki Nebel, Jonathan and Jacque Kriegel, Martha Fulford, Diane McNamara, Katie Larson, Bob Bekes.

The hardest ascent was Virtue Mountain. On our first try we made it only to the preliminary bump called "Feel the Love", where we decided to turn around and grab the three easier peaks surrounding the Primrose Icefield. It looked like the ridge from the bump to the main ridge would be loose and unpleasant. Two days later Katie and I started again, leaving the hut at 5:45 a.m. We got to Feel the Love in under 2 hours and the ridge from there turned out to be exposed but solid class 3 scrambling. At 3 hours we were at the lowest point, and soon thereafter we negotiated the easy class 4 step. Further scrambling from there brought us to the glacier, which we could walk to its highest point. Then we ascended the headwall, which was a little loose, but which offered enough route choice that we could find a way that was fine. This put us near the west summit and the scramble to the main summit was straightforward. Time to summit was 5.5 hours and we did not rope up.

On other days we investigated the snouts of the Devine and Justice Glaciers, and hiked to two lakes on the other side of Phantom Pass. Views were always terrific, especially of Moby Dick and Butters to the southeast, and nearby Albert Peak.

Natural highlights included a cave in the rock talus that led to a hidden glacier, and a spectacular array of flowers, including Butterwort, a carnivorous plant that traps bugs, and a tremendous variety of Indian Paintbrush. An expecially noteworthy spot was the large lake NE of the hut, below Cassiope. Perhaps it could be called The Pool of Andromeda. This was as pristine an alpine lake as I have seen.

The weather throughout the week was superb: no rain except for a very few drops on Tuesday. The lodge itself was outstanding, with fine woodwork, well-supplied kitchen, comfortable common space, a great deck, and a shower that worked well.

Photos

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