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Messages 1 - 151 of total 151 in this topic
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Oct 8, 2014 - 10:52pm PT
I think the fourth was Peter Arbic and Tim Auger, and fifth was Andy DeKlerk and Julie Brugger.

kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Oct 8, 2014 - 11:13pm PT
Most recent one:

http://nickbullock-climber.co.uk/2014/10/03/it-takes-a-big-day-to-weigh-a-ton-climbing-the-houseanderson-on-mt-alberta-nf/
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 9, 2014 - 07:06am PT
I think Ward and Dan were #4, this would have been 1984 or 1985?
PA and Tim climbed it in the early 90's?
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Oct 9, 2014 - 09:08am PT
Luke Cormier #5
Avery

climber
NZ
Oct 9, 2014 - 12:42pm PT
Thanks for the suggestion, Bruce. Who made did make the six first descents of Alberta's North Face?
Peter Arbic

climber
Nov 5, 2014 - 11:25pm PT
4 Ward Robinson and Danny Guthrie, 5 Andy and Julie
, 6 PA and Tim...I believe Scott Backes and Bill Bancroft somewhere in here too?
nah000

climber
canuckistan
Nov 6, 2014 - 01:29pm PT
^^^^

uuuhhh... are you aware that the person who wrote what you are questioning is the person who made the next ascent?

ie. unless someone has a published source or deklerk or brugger on the line, that's about as good a quality of info as we're going to get...



speaking of which: Peter Arbic, if you're interested in throwing down fingers to keyboard, there are definitely eyes and ears around the campfire that'd love to hear an alberta ascent story or two...
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 6, 2014 - 01:41pm PT
That seven day ascent is true and correct.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 6, 2014 - 01:42pm PT
Julie always enjoyed camping.
mikeyschaefer

climber
Sport-o-land
Nov 6, 2014 - 03:12pm PT
This thread definitely needs a pic.

here is one from this summer while approaching the NE ridge. We talked about coming back for the NF but i was a little fried after the NE ridge. Some serious choss-aneering up there. And climbing the north face in July these days seems like playing a rigged game of roulette with odds favoring the house.
I am also a bit surprised to hear Andy and Julie spent 7 days up there. Would love to hear that story.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Nov 6, 2014 - 04:09pm PT
I can believe the Andy and Julie story. They were both quite tough. I went over to their house in Seattle one winter day to find them both hanging out indoors in puffy jackets. They saved money by never heating the place and just put more clothes on.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 6, 2014 - 05:52pm PT
Hi there "mikeyschaefer"

Many thanks for the pic, good ones are hard to find.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 6, 2014 - 11:54pm PT
Can someone please tell me a little bit about Bill Bancroft?
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Nov 7, 2014 - 09:21am PT
...forgot about Scott Backes and Bill Bancroft sometime early 90s?
The bio on Scott Backes at http://www.pembaserves.com/2010/12/petzl-ergo-versus-the-hate-factory/ says their ascent was in 1990.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 9, 2014 - 03:21am PT

Peter Arbic, high on the North Face of Mt Alberta. 1992

Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 9, 2014 - 01:21pm PT
During the 4th Ascent of the North Face of Alberta, Dan Guthrie and Ward Robinson made it to the ice alcove above the crux. They then spent the night standing on ice with their crampons sticking out through the bottom of their sleeping bags! (info courtesy of PA)
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 01:31am PT
Hi Avery,

Julie Brugger and I did do the North Face of Alberta in early September 1994.
I think it was the 4th ascent, but I'm not sure. The log in the Alberta hut book just before us was about an epic retreat in bad weather that Sean Daugherty had, so maybe that puts a time line to it.

We walked in over Woolly shoulder to the Alberta hut the first day.
Descended down to the base and climbed the ice field and yellow band and about 2 or 3 pitches of the head-wall on the second day. We found a nice small ledge for a sitting bivvy which was fine.
The third day we climbed the rest of the rock pitches and had a bivvy just under the summit ice field due to a thunderstorm.
The fourth day we summitted and descended the Japanese route to the Alberta hut again
And the 5th day we walked out.

Weather was good except for the brief electrical storm, conditions were good, cold and clear, and we had a lot of fun.


Many Thanks,

Andy de Klerk
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 03:27am PT
Tim (Auger) and I planned it around the full moon. Belayed the whole lower bit cause we only had leather boots and there was tons of stone-fall on the ice field . We were past the yellow bands by 11 and would have moved faster if we had put the rock shoes on sooner . Rock is for the most part excellent. The crux pitch had a shitty belay and not great gear , Tim used a big hook . A few more pitches of good rock brought us a nice ledge. We fixed the last pitch before Tim did this wild king swing in fading light to a trickle of water out on the face. Comfy enough bivy, cook up by the full moon. Tim said I snored . In the morning we watched two climbers approach across the glacier just down and left of the face, unloaded a couple of boxcars worth of rock at them. They turned around. Some guy from Vegas? We had as leisurely a breakfast as you can , got up to the ice and on the summit around noon, stumbled euphorically in to the hut , before sundown. We were lucky, I had a very good , very smart , partner. He's pretty lucky too. (1992)

Peter Arbic
Peter Arbic

climber
Nov 10, 2014 - 08:55am PT
Well BJ you were correct and my recollections not accurate concerning Andy and Julies timing . Not sure why this is all of interest but now you have it from the horses mouh
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Nov 10, 2014 - 09:35am PT
Cool thread Avery!!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
Nov 10, 2014 - 11:19am PT
File under: The Power of the Choss Compels You

http://vimeo.com/49288195
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
"It was just obvious you guys were just spewing nonsense"

Eloquent words, B J.

I'll have to register my De Klerk/Brugger statements in the honest mistake file.

Having said that, "Let he who is without sin ............
dave729

Trad climber
Western America
Nov 10, 2014 - 01:43pm PT
O.C.D.
Mt Alberta looks perfect for climbers with Obsessive Choss Disorder.

Approach now has luxury accomodations.
http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/huts/lloyd-mackay-mt-alberta-hut/



Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
Nov 10, 2014 - 02:32pm PT
Beautiful route but looks really crumbly.


* from the other photos I suspect this one is tilted a little.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 05:18pm PT
Thanks Don Paul, Nice pic.
nah000

climber
canuckistan
Nov 10, 2014 - 05:23pm PT
here are a few more ascents and dates to add to your list Avery:
[new routes in bold]

1. George Lowe and Jock Glidden, 08/1972: [2: VI 5.9 A2]
2. Steve Swenson and Kit Lewis, 09/1981: [2]
3. Barry Blanchard and Gregg Cronn, 08/1983: [2]
4. Ward Robinson and Dan Guthrie, ?/1984?: [2]
5. Scott Backes and Bill Bancroft, 08/1990: [2]
6. Andy de Klerk and Julie Brugger, 07?/1992: [2]
7. Peter Arbic and Tim Auger, 08/1992: [2]
8. Jon Walsh and Chris Brazeau, 09/2006: [5: VI 5.11 M6]
9. Steve House and Vince Anderson, 03/2008: [3: VI WI5+ M8 R/X]
10. Jay Mills and Dana Ruddy, 08/2009: [2: VI 5.10 A0]
11. Jason Kruk and Josh Lavigne, 09/2012: [4: VI WI5+ M7+]
12. Nick Bullock and Will Simm, 09/2014: [3]


a few other attempts of the north face:
Tobin Sorenson, 10/1980: [attempt of 2]
Mark Wilford, 09/1991: [traversed away from 2 to summit via northeast ridge]
Frank Jourdan, 07/1994: [escaped off face to descend via northeast ridge]
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 06:51pm PT
Thanks nah000, most helpful.

I'm still not sure about the date of the Robinson/Guthrie ascent, it's either 84 or 85. I am working on it.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 10, 2014 - 07:01pm PT
Was climbing in Indian Creek with George Lowe this weekend. He can't remember climbing the route...wink, wink...nod, nod.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 07:17pm PT
Thanks Jim,

I don't know whether to laugh or cry after reading that!
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Nov 10, 2014 - 08:01pm PT
In addition to the attempts noted above, the Alberta Hut logbook had a couple of gripping entries about failed attempts from the 90's: as I recall Joe Josephson and somebody made an attempt that ended with being hit by rockfall (I seem to recall that was the one where someone's helmet was broken off of their head!) and another entry by a Japanese team which wrote, in broken English, something about "leader knock completely unconscious by stone" or something like that and describing a harrowing retreat from the lower face.

My partner and I had hiked in there in August of 2000 hoping to get on it, only to observe the face alive with a horrifying volley of constant stonefall and running water in the way too warm temperatures. We were very naive and thankfully realized it immediately. We settled down to an open bivi beneath the northeast ridge intending to hike back out in the morning, but at dusk a ferocious thunderstorm formed over by Mount Columbia and it was clear that it was making an aggressive tack directly towards us. Knowing the hut was empty we packed quickly and ran down there in the fading light, arriving just as the hail and lightning began. I remember thinking to myself as we jogged down towards the hut, "man, we are really light duty" and wondering if these conditions were just how you had to do this thing, and if we just needed to suck it up. After all, the guidebook said "late July, early August" was best. Ha.

Reading the logbook stories late into the night as the hailstones and rain drummed down upon the roof of the hut, I found myself feeling increasingly grateful for being light duty!!
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 08:12pm PT
Thanks Mark, for an excellent post. This is just the type of material I'm looking for.

Did you take any of your consistently good pics around Mt Alberta?

In the near future I'll be posting Joe Josephson's excellent Canadian Alpine Journal article on Alberta's NF.
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Nov 10, 2014 - 08:32pm PT
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 09:08pm PT
This thread is building nicely.

Great contributions from Bruce Kay and Jim Brennen, thanks.

I knew you had, at the very least, one superb pic, Mark. Thanks a lot.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 09:17pm PT
I've been fortunate (if you can call it that). I've lost only one good friend in the mountains (Rob Hall). It was still one too many.
Peter Arbic

climber
Nov 10, 2014 - 09:18pm PT
Thanks Jim , no worries BJ .... would have "liked" your original bullshit call if this forum had such a thing . I don't always believe what I think myself and it was tossed off originally as vague recollection to be checked and it was. Now, still convinced Andy and Julie did it before us , I"m forced to believe my memory banks are toast and I should just ditch them.
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Nov 10, 2014 - 09:18pm PT
Avery I wish I had more of the face, but that's as close as I dared get to it.

Sad story about Guthrie and Bult. The same route on which they (and two others simultaneously) were lost on Mount Foraker in 1987, also was where three young brothers from Alaska died in 2002- also in an avalanche.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 09:22pm PT

Posted with the kind permission of JJ
nah000

climber
canuckistan
Nov 10, 2014 - 09:41pm PT
this thread is too funny.

you can't even necessarily trust the horse's mouth, as it looks like arbic is right regarding de klerk and brugger not climbing the nf in 1994. the josephson article says that de klerk and brugger made the sixth ascent in 1992 [and the article is published in 1993] and arbic and auger's ascent came after...

so who knows maybe it really did take them seven days... hahaha. sure you got THE Andy de Klerk, Avery? It looks like he forgot what month he climbed it in as well... i guess when you're as hard as he was, you don't remember the details regarding a piddly peak like alberta... hahaha.



JB: the composition of your first photo is absolutely engrossing... thanks for the post.
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Nov 10, 2014 - 10:07pm PT
That JoJo article was photocopied and placed in the Alberta Hut- I haven't read that one since that night in the hut 14 years ago, exactly what I remembered and mentioned above. I'll never forget it and that piece in particular took a lot of the sting out of our failure to launch and provided a great perspective on the complex emotions the alpinist wrestles with in the face of commitment, retreat, and obsession.

"C.D"..."Carl"...I wonder if that is Carl Diedrich?

Andy and Julie spent 9 days climbing the Moonflower on Mount Hunter and five more days descending. 7 days on Alberta, true or not, doesn't seem far fetched. Badass as those two are, routes like these hold the cards and set the pace. That they tried, and then completed, Alberta's NF is all that matters. Part of the legend now.

Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 10, 2014 - 11:24pm PT
Well said, Mark.
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Nov 11, 2014 - 09:34am PT
Wilford "escape" N Face to NE ridge and thence to summit should be regarded as a legitimate route in its own right.
Andy de klerk

Mountain climber
South Africa
Nov 11, 2014 - 11:38am PT
Cool thread thanks Avery and to all who have posted.
Alberta is really one of those "mythical" mountains, that you really have to do, kind of like the N face of the Eiger, or maybe the Bachar-Yurian in Touloumne. A mix of both perhaps, add in a bit of the south face of the Marmolada in the Dolomites and some of the N face of the Courtes in Cham, mix them all together and there you go. Add some hectic rockfall in there nowdays to bring it up to date and the roulette wheel favours the house.
I really liked climbing in the Canadian Rockies. I liked climbing there because everything is far from the road and all of it required a self sufficiency that is fast disappearing in this connected world. We had an epic on Edith Cavell that I remember far more clearly than our ascent of Alberta. I also liked following in the footsteps of Dave Cheesemond, a fellow South African, who is still sorely missed by many. (Just finished reading Barry's book. Great read, great letter to the Big Cheese) All I can say is that Julie and I had a lot of fun climbing in the Rockies, both in summer and winter. We might have been slow and steady, but we got there in the end and we enjoyed every minute of it.
I have only one regret and that is not climbing N Twin. Went there twice with different partners but the wall was badly out of condition both times. Such is life and these things happen, a strong sense of mortality superseded ambition. It was the wise and the happy choice.
Many Thanks
Andy de Klerk
Andy de klerk

Mountain climber
South Africa
Nov 11, 2014 - 11:46am PT
Hey PA
My memory banks are toasted too
No worries man
Andy
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Nov 11, 2014 - 11:56am PT
Great thread. Thanks to all.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
Nov 11, 2014 - 12:42pm PT
^^ It's reminding me of the North Face of the Eiger. Looks harder.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 11, 2014 - 03:01pm PT
Nice to hear from you, Andy.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 11, 2014 - 03:14pm PT
Alberta, North Face: Dana Ruddy and Jay Mills

What makes Mount Alberta so impressive to me is how remote it is. It’s a full day from the road to the base of the North face and involves multiple glacier crossings and a rap to reach its base. There is a hut that sits at about 9500ft at the base of the East face of Alberta which offers climbers a warm night and dry spot in bad weather. As is common in the Rockies the long approaches often add to the challenge of the climb.

Alberta is also very hard to find in good condition. When I climbed it we were hoping for rock climbing conditions to allow fast travel. We found good conditions but not great, as the face had a thin layer of ice and snow which added to the challenge.

One thing many people don't know is that you can see the North Face of Alberta from Jasper town site. There is one spot on the very west end of town that on a perfectly clear day you can make out the pyramid shaped ice face that makes the NF of Alberta so indistinguishable. When I climbed the face we topped out on the rock climbing at about 1 am and took a short break. I will always remember looking to the north and feeling comforted by the lights of Jasper some 80 km away. Then we were up to the summit at about 4 am and made our way over the famous summit ridge in the light of the full moon as the sun rose over the Columbia ice fields. We got to watch the north face of the north twin slowly appear from the darkness as night turned to day. Good memories!

Dana Ruddy


nah000

climber
canuckistan
Nov 11, 2014 - 10:33pm PT
Oplopanax:

fair point about wilford: i switched the word "escaped" to "traversed" in my post...



for those that haven't read it here's wilford's write-up about his two solo attempts on and a solo summit of alberta...

and to whet the appetite here's a small excerpt from the above, regarding his second attempt via the northeast ridge:

Over a period of a few hours I tensioned and free climbed my way up 200 overhanging feet - solid, but almost crackless, save for a few knifeblade placements. I fixed lines and scurried back to the hut. Smug in my tiny amount of success, I wrapped myself tightly in a shroud of ignorance and struggled for sleep.

I set out the next morning and quickly topped the fixed ropes. Above, I cruised an easy icefield and then hit the ridge crest. From there, the mountain began showing its soul. The facade of beauty and charm peeled away with each step. Actually, part of the mountain was physically peeled away with each step. The black tile gave away to putrid yellow shale - only gravity held the stacked dinner plates in their precarious position. I felt like a drunk stumbling through an antique store tightly packed with china and glass - while a neon sign flashes "You break it, you buy it."
mikeyschaefer

climber
Sport-o-land
Nov 12, 2014 - 08:21am PT
Here's a pic after topping out on the NE ridge. Alberta definitely feels a bit out there!

Gimp

Trad climber
Missoula, MT & "Pourland", OR
Nov 12, 2014 - 09:45am PT
sounds like it has

http://brandopullan.blogspot.com/2012/08/north-twin-via-black-hole.html
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Nov 12, 2014 - 11:12am PT
Trevor Jones was Jo Jo's partner on Alberta, the one that got knocked out for a second. Trevor also did an early ascent of the Shield with Piton Ron
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 12, 2014 - 01:03pm PT
Great pic, Mikey
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 12, 2014 - 05:20pm PT
The following is an excerpt from Andy De Klerk's 2007 book "Sharper Edges"


Thanks Andy
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Nov 13, 2014 - 10:15am PT
What a great thread. George's ascents of Alberta and North Twin (along with Jock and Chris!)introduced me to the Canadian Rockies. Their ascents were very inspirational to me and led to my taking trips up there for three straight years 75,76 and 77. I even managed to get up a few things--most notably the ramp route on Kitchener in late Sept. of 77 with Ron Kauk. We thought of doing the Grand Central as it was in perfect form (if there is such a thing in the Rockies). The Ramp route was challenging enough at that time. Still have a few scars to remind me! I have so much respect for anyone who has climbed any of those big north face routes--especially the remote ones like N. Twin and Alberta.
Chappy
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 13, 2014 - 02:00pm PT
Great thread!!!@
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Nov 13, 2014 - 02:45pm PT
Back to the Lowe Hat Trick, Alberta, North twin, and Gieke(sp??).
Has any one done a repeat of all three? Probably not, unless Barry did Gieke. Barry has done most of the big alpine stuff up here.
Alberta was one face that Dave Cheesmond didn't climb. I heard he went in there with Alex one time but the weather did not cooperate. Dave returned next year and retrieved the rack he had stashed the year before. The cams were seized up so he melted cheese for the oil then lubricated the cams. He was not called "The Big Cheese" for nothing!
So I think Jon Walsh and partner's new route was done in 18 hours hut to hut. Wow
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 13, 2014 - 06:01pm PT
Thanks AP: great Cheesmond story!
nah000

climber
canuckistan
Nov 13, 2014 - 06:37pm PT
a couple of awesome [in the most literal definition of the word] headwall photos:






BJ: your last post made me hahaha... you can have the beachcombers, though... just don't take my danger bay!
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 13, 2014 - 10:56pm PT
Alberta, North Face: Jon Walsh and Chris Brazeau

Mt. Alberta North Face The climb: We soloed the shrund (which was easy), and simulclimbed to the traverse ledge where we unroped. After the bulk of the ice-field, we angled right and traversed below a rib of the yellow band and found short WI 3 steps through it, that led to the base of the headwall, and a obvious natural system of grooves and corners. Here we roped up and swapped leads to the summit. The headwall pitches are described as follows: Pitch 1 - 25m: up the left facing corner (shattered rock) and slightly right to a small stance before the next corner... M6 Pitch 2 - 45m: Up the corner (better rock) for about 15 meters. When the crack pinches shut and the wall overhangs, make a delicate finger traverse right with no pro for 6 meters to a ledge (possible belay here). Continue up a hand crack to a pedestal belay stance below and right of prominent yellow rock scar... 5.10+ Pitch 3 - 55m: Up left facing corner and move left past prominent yellow rock scar. Continue up left facing corner past the roof (crux) and up the crack above (sustained) to another small stance... 5.11b Pitch 4 - 50m: Up the groove above (minimal gear), and follow the mixed weakness left, then right, to a finger crack in a corner, through a roof and step right to a good stance. We belayed here off two good ice screws in a pool of ice that formed below a small overhang, and a piton... 5.10 R Pitch 5 - 40 m: Traverse left in an arc with difficult gear towards a ledge and a right facing corner. Belay before the corner. One piton fixed midway - only gear left on route... 5.10 + / 5.11- (we tried going straight up but backed off on 5.11 R terrain with friable rock) Pitch 6 - Up the corner, and contour left towards the exit ice field. Continue up ice until out of rope... 5.10- WI3 Three more 70 meter pitches up the very brittle upper icefield (maximum 60 %) and some simul climbing up the NE ridge gets you to the summit. The Rack (what we brought - it seemed to be perfect, at least for us): 5 screws; cams: 2 each from #.3 camelot to #1 camelot, one #2, one #3 camelot; 1 set of stoppers; 9 pitons (mainly knife-blades and lost arrows); one pair of rock shoes (critical!). Other details: It's hard to imagine having better conditions than what we had. The rock was just warm enough for bare hands, and there was virtually no natural rockfall. It was cold enough that ice and snice provided good purchase for both tools and crampons. All pitches were on-sighted on lead, and most have run-out sections, and some marginal gear. The second and third belays were also on the marginal side, but might have been better with an extra piton or two. Although our feet were on rock 90 to 95 percent of the time, I wore my crampons the entire way, and Chris put our only pair of rock shoes on for two of his three leads (although both of those leads required some climbing in boots as well). It was just mixed enough that crampons were an important asset on the headwall. Being avid mixed participants, we're used to climbing a lot of rock in our crampons, however, others might be better off in rock shoes under the same or drier conditions.

Jon Walsh (With his kind permission)

Massive Vinny

climber
Nov 14, 2014 - 05:59am PT
Steve & I climbed it March 24-27, not in April & not (technically) in winter, though the temperatures (-10 F at the start) & snowy conditions (with avalanches on the descent) felt that way. The Aurora Borealis during the approach, the ridiculously good dry-tooling in a blizzard, the ancient, dragontail-like ice pitch in the dark and the second bivy (unplanned & our coldest ever): all moments forever etched in my memory. Climbing Mount Aberta's North Face ranks as one of the finest alpine climbing experience I've ever had.
The log book at the hut may as well be The Bible of North American Alpinism, if that is your religion. Not so much for the entries from who climbed Alverta, but from the numerous luminaries who did not: all untold stories & events, that had they succeeded, would've been well known.
Nice place!
Vince Anderson
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 14, 2014 - 12:55pm PT
Thanks a lot, Vince. I really appreciate it.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 14, 2014 - 09:09pm PT

An unusual view of the North Face of Alberta.

Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 15, 2014 - 01:12pm PT
The North Face of Alberta: Will Sim and Nick Bullock

Thanks to Will Sim.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 15, 2014 - 04:06pm PT
Avery- Good on You for starting this thread and for sticking around despite the initial razzing you received.

Thanks to you I am back in touch with Andy De Klerk after many years and he will hopefully be chiming in around here before long. We worked together but haven't climbed so far but it sounds like the Planet Andy may be coming into view soon.

I build things uncommonly well and Andy's first exposure to my work came when he had to demolish an elevated storage platform that I had framed not long before that. We arrived at this after working together for quite a while and had a good laugh over it. We see eye to eye on quality of construction even at the point of real suffering. LOL
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 15, 2014 - 04:59pm PT
Captions for the above photos (and more great photos) are at:
http://nickbullock-climber.co.uk/2014/10/03/it-takes-a-big-day-to-weigh-a-ton-climbing-the-houseanderson-on-mt-alberta-nf/
For example, that first one with the cracks in a yellow band is on a rappel in to the base.

Pretty scary looking faces!
I remember in 1976 reading the Ascent article on the George Lowe - Chris Jones FA of the North Face of Twins Tower.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/890216/North-Twin-North-Face-G-Lowe-C-Jones-Ascent-75-76
And especially the strange stuff painted on George's helmet.
Made it seem like a foreign world.
photo #24 at
http://www.backcountry.com/sc/black-diamond-climbing-digital-catalog
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 15, 2014 - 05:34pm PT

North Face of Alberta: Will Sim and Nick Bullock cont...


Thanks to Will Sim
poliszbob

Mountain climber
Bellingham, WA
Nov 15, 2014 - 05:43pm PT
Wasn't there also an ascent, that started as NF and ended up on upper NE Ridge?
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 15, 2014 - 05:52pm PT
Thanks Steve and Clint. (Great pic, Clint)

Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 15, 2014 - 05:56pm PT
I think your correct, poliszbob.

I believe Mark Wilford was the climber involved, but I'm not positive.

I'm sure someone will know the facts

Thanks
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Nov 15, 2014 - 06:13pm PT
Amazing contributions and moderating!

Thanks
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 15, 2014 - 06:27pm PT
poliszbob,
See nah000's post and Raphael Slawinski's photo on page 2 of this thread.
Mark Wilford, 09/1991: [traversed away from 2 to summit via northeast ridge]
Frank Jourdan, 07/1994: [escaped off face to descend via northeast ridge]
and nah000's later post with the story from Wilford.
"It pays to read the thread." Only 94 posts, with lots of good stories.
nah000

climber
canuckistan
Nov 15, 2014 - 07:10pm PT
poliszbob: there's also a link to a write-up by wilford a page or two back...



i knew the n face of alberta reminded me of something...

it wasn't until Avery posted the photo from ruddy a couple posts back, that i realized what it was:





hahahahahahahahaha ha!

it's all making sense now...

[apologies to those with more refined senses of humour...]
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 15, 2014 - 07:14pm PT
3, Barry Blanchard and Gregg Cronn (1983)
3, Barry Blanchard and Gregg Cronn (8/1983)

In Blanchard's Alpinist article "The Calling",
he mentions Alberta was done 4 months after Andromeda Strain,
which was done in 4/1983.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 15, 2014 - 07:50pm PT
Thanks Clint
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 15, 2014 - 09:33pm PT
The one report I can definitely rule out is that of the Robinson/Guthrie ascent.

Ward preferred to maintain his privacy, which is something I will certainly adhere to.
John M

climber
Nov 15, 2014 - 10:09pm PT
I then decided to approach every successful NF party I knew of, in the hope of getting a short trip report from each. So far, I have six excellent short reports covering six separate ascents of Alberta's NF.(This includes Will's pics)

I'm glad you did this.. Great stories..
Andy de klerk

Mountain climber
South Africa
Nov 16, 2014 - 10:08am PT
Are we sure that there were no ascents between 1992 and 2006?
It Seems like a very long gap, too long perhaps?
Is there anyone who can fill in some detail?
This historical compilation is fascinating.
Andy
nah000

climber
canuckistan
Nov 16, 2014 - 11:22am PT
Adk: in jon walsh's article for alpinist, he mentions that there hadn't been any ascents [prior to his and brazeau's ascent in 2006], "in more than a decade."

so while it seems improbable [and someone may very well have snuck in there and climbed it], it does appear that there was a gap of 14 years, during which there were no ascents...
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 16, 2014 - 01:27pm PT
14 year's does seem a long time. but stranger things have happened!

I agree with Bruce, lets hear about some failures (honorable or otherwise)

I'm going to need some real help (ie local knowledge) with this.

At the present time I'm still busy trying to secure a few more "first hand accounts".
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 16, 2014 - 01:32pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock, cont


Thanks to Will Sim
MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Nov 16, 2014 - 02:23pm PT
Just before we hiked in there in the summer of 2000, my recollection is that what little intel I could find was that the route hadn't been climbed since the early 90's, and only like 6 or 8 times in total. I don't recall my sources but this was also in the earlier days of the internet so there wasn't as much out there as now.

Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 16, 2014 - 03:33pm PT
Thanks Mark, your view adheres to the prevailing thought. It looks like it was a long time between drinks, regarding successful ascents.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 16, 2014 - 04:23pm PT
5, Scott Backes and Bill Bancroft (1990)
5, Scott Backes and Bill Bancroft (8/1990)

The logbook entry looks like "g 15th", so I think that is "Aug 15th" with the Au out of view.

It sounds like the logbook entries themselves could be pretty entertaining.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 16, 2014 - 04:59pm PT
North Face of Alberta: Jason Kruk and Joshua Lavigne.


From September 6th to the 9th I teamed up with my good friend Josh Lavigne from Canmore for a rare ascent of the north face of Mt. Alberta. I hadn't had a good Rockies alpine hit for almost a year. I'm usually a pretty easy going guy, but I was going to start flipping tables if I missed my shot at trying a big Rockies rig this time. The weather was going to be splitter but a large amount of fresh snow had already accumulated in the mountains and temps were looking fresh overnight. Conditions on the north faces seemed pretty wintery. Mount Alberta immediately came to mind as a good objective. The snow was hopefully forming good névé on the boilerplate ice face and the headwall, while steep, wasn't as big as say, something really big like the North Twin. We'd hopefully have more than enough good weather to deal with the particularly slow nature of the difficult alpine drytooling we expected to encounter.

The long hike up the Cromwell valley and over Whooley Shoulder to the ACC's Alberta Hut was very familiar, having done it on two previous occasions. This time my mind was at rest. To be honest, after dropping in on two epic attempts at the neighboring North Twin, it felt like I was on a bit of an alpine vacation.


We left the hut at 4:20 the next morning, and followed our noses to the base of Alberta. We took only one 30L backpack and one small hydration pack for the leader. Shockingly light, modern gear is incredible. At the bottom of my pack was one of those new deluxe therm-a-rests and a small ovular tarp Josh had stitched up, hopefully our slim bivy setup would remain unused. Ha ha. Unfortunately, we bumbled around a little bit in the dark, unable to locate the rappel necessary to gain the glacier below the north face. We ended up committing to a few new rappels, just to get it over with. Sometimes a little beta on route finding ain't so bad. We were climbing in my favorite style: with new route eyes. Meaning no topos, no beta, just climbing what looked best. Pure adventure climbing. It gets me fired up every time!


Day light broke and we got our first look at the face. During an ascent of the north face in winter conditions, every climber must be drawn to the incredible WI5+ pillar that forms seemingly reliably halfway up the headwall. It's one of the classiest stretches of ice I've seen on a big mountain route, and provides easy (or easier) passage around what would otherwise be very time-consuming steep drytooling... At least for a pitch. We were aiming for the water ice, and would drytool above and below it, that was the plan.

We soloed around a gaping-schrund and belayed two easy mixed rock pitches to get established on the ice face. Coiling the ropes, we soloed the ice to the base of the yellow band. I thought conditions were pretty good, we climbed through everything: supportive, boot-top powder; névé; hard, old ice; fresh blue stuff. The pitches through the yellow band were low-angle and easy, but insecure and required care, with lots of fresh snow over supremely chossy stone. Eventually, we were below the headwall, staring up. We followed ground climbed by Steve House and Vince Anderson in 2008 to the top of the ice feature we were gunning for. Stacked pitches of real deal M7 gained the ice. Josh did a bang-up job at the lead here. At the crux of the House-Anderson, Josh whipped off the sloping, snowed-up holds four times, eventually ripping out the shaky pin placed on the first ascent. Finally, only upon my suggestion, he conceded and stepped in a shoulder sling to get past the move troubling us. This was the only bit of aid for the leader or second on the entire route.

Wow, the waterfall ice pitches were stellar! Wildly overhanging, but with a good stem out right on rock where needed. Josh and I have both climbed a lot of this stuff, and ranked this ice feature very near the top of the list of all time classic ice. A short stretch of mixed lay above and I climbed this to the point where the ice was flowing from. I mantled on top of an icy ledge and peered inside the cave feature, it appeared to be a pretty stellar bivy. The small opening at the back of the cave was also intriguing, I wondered if the cave continued deeper. We knew we had to climb up and right from this point if we wanted the easiest way off the headwall. It was longer and steeper up and left. I explored a ledge out right leading hopefully to a system we spied from below.

The ledge was choked with snow had a bulging wall above it, forcing you off balance. As I awkwardly switched from wallowing across on my knees to tip-toes, I tried to imagine a couple of big dudes like Vince and Steve balancing across this ledge and really couldn't! An email from Vince I later received confirmed they had in fact used this ledge to traverse to easier ground. From this perspective I also got a good look at the thin crack systems that led back out left, straight up and through the steepest part of the headwall remaining. Wild-looking climbing, but too tempting to resist. The rock quality up to this point had been reasonable. A real connoisseur might call it choss, but it was sufficiently held together by cold temps and snow and ice to protect adequately on the bits where you needed it most. We still had a bit of time before dark to continue upwards, but I reckoned a decent night’s sleep would be better for the steeps above, and besides, I really wanted to explore the cave!
Josh joined me at the cave entrance and we agreed a stop here would be the best tactic. We poked our heads inside the cave and a large room appeared. A horizontal oasis in a vertical desert. It was great to take off helmets and harnesses and move around freely. Josh dealt with the gear and I grabbed my headlamp to go explore. Right away the cave opened to flat ground and easy walking. A very fine yellow silt lined the ground, the smooth twisting walls were coated with very large rime ice crystals and there was a very slight breeze. I explored deeper into the cave for about 5 minutes until I became a little scared by myself. I turned around to go get Josh.

We must have walked that thing for 20 minutes or more, going deeper and deeper into Mt. Alberta. I was sure we would dead-end soon, but we'd turn a corner and another hidden hallway would appear, luring us further. After several hundred meters of exploration we both decided we should probably get back to the task of climbing this big face. Were we going to follow this thing to the end? We came to climb, not cave, really. We were pretty hungry and thirsty, so we turned around to go brew up.


At first light I led out around the left side of the roof of the cave, directly up the headwall. The exposure was an intense wake up... way better than the Starbucks instant coffee we had just gulped down. Steep, thin drytooling with awkward feet. The rock was pretty sh#t. I left the gear at the lip of the roof and climbed further and further above it. I was conscientious of the shift in my focus from my initial terror as I entered the no-fall zone to a very deep mental clarity. I maintained a sort-of acute attention to every detail, my mind completely free of excess noise. Slow, systematic upward progress, crucial for survival up this terrain. I was jolted into reality when without warning a large, unstable pillar of rock I was stemmed around collapsed, hitting me in the chest and falling between my feet. It brushed by the ropes, I felt a tug on my harness but I maintained hold of my tool placements torqued in a thin crack. Had the ropes been clipped through any gear I would have likely been pulled from my strenuous stance. I was hoping the trundled rock would reveal solid protection behind it but no such luck. I gave myself a quick mental pep talk. It's hard to fully relax with mono-point crampons balanced on small edges. I reminded myself this is the very thing I live for and there was no other place in the world I'd rather be in this moment. My only way out was up. It's always a weird feeling for me to leave a resting point mid runout and continue questing onwards. I delicately hooked and scratched my way up the remainder of the pitch, locking back into meditation and striving for complete precision and perfection of movement. The belay required time and creativity to construct and I was feeling very tired mentally upon securing myself to the anchor.

Josh swung through and led a shorter pitch up and right. Another steep pitch on better rock followed, still forcing large runouts though. Briefly on this pitch was the only time during the route I would remove my gloves and crimp on the thin edges instead of hook them with my ice tools. I stopped short at a sheltered stance out left, brought Josh up. The next pitch looked like a blockbuster. I could feel we were nearing the very top of the highest point of the headwall. Above, a slightly overhanging feature of stacked changing corners continued out of sight. Josh was stoked to swing through on lead. Steep, psychical drytooling, good gear and tool placements when needed kept his momentum going through the wild terrain. After following a full pitch of strenuous climbing I reached the final crux overhang that Josh had pulled way out from the belay. I was overwhelmed with appreciation for the outrageous position and difficult climbing we were blessed with on this adventure. Another outrageous pitch of M7+++. The summit ridge was now in our sites, but another long pitch of low angle mixed ground remained between us and the end of the difficulties. This sort of climbing is frustratingly insecure; my periodic efforts at digging for protection were pretty much pointless. I balanced upward on my frontpoints, knowing it would be over soon. I reached solid glacier ice and sunk in two bomber screws, relieved to have it in the bag. Josh swung through up the ice to the ridge and we simul-climbed the remainder of the double-corniced ridge to the summit of Mt. Alberta.


We traversed over the summit and along the long ridge south to what we were pretty sure were the top pitches of the Japanese Route and committed to a rappel descent. Deep snow obscured a few of the rappels, forcing us to leave behind a few pieces, but likely reduced the amount of rockfall we endured while pulling the ropes down after each rappel.

The lower eastern flanks of Mt. Alberta are somewhat confusing to descend onsight. The scrambling required to navigate around the steep cliffbands was super in-obvious in the fading light, then dark. We likely could have made it back to level ground that night if we committed to more rappelling directly, but we conceded to another cold night under the soggy tarp, spooning on our single thermarest.

We were tired, satisfied, and happy back at the hut. After a brief meal and siesta, we shouldered our packs and started the long trek back to the highway at a slow, steady pace. The reality of a perfect mission was starting to set in. It's always a bit of a guessing game choosing the right route and hoping for certain conditions. Sometimes you guess right.

As far as the satisfaction of a successful climb, I was already thinking about the next adventures to come. It's nice to just be able to relax and enjoy every step along the way in the process of alpine climbing... and life in general. It's all just a pretty neat adventure.


Many thanks to Jason Kruk




Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 16, 2014 - 06:37pm PT
The above (very nice climb report) is also at:
http://jasonthekruk.blogspot.com/2012/09/mt-alberta-north-face.html

I was wondering about that cave after seeing the cool photo in Nick Bullock's climb report.
Almost like "Eigerwand Station"!

[Edit:] Thanks for your work on this, Avery.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 16, 2014 - 06:58pm PT
Thanks Clint, I don't think I would've noticed otherwise!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 17, 2014 - 10:04am PT
More fantastic accounts!

Anyone know how to get in touch with Tim Auger now that he is retired?

I suspect that he has kept track of ascents of the grand courses and would have some interesting input historically.

While he worked as the Banff Warden, Tim was the most reliable source of information and background in the area and always my first call when a trip was taking shape. I still owe him a steak and a bottle of his favorite spirit for all the help BITD. Never a trace of attitude in his advice unlike the fare at the climbing shops.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 17, 2014 - 01:00pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock. cont...


Thanks to Will Sim
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 17, 2014 - 04:17pm PT
We must have walked that thing for 20 minutes or more, going deeper and deeper into Mt. Alberta

That merits nomination for quote of the decade. Holy frozen bat cave, Hard Man!
Synchronicity

Trad climber
British Columbia, Canada
Nov 17, 2014 - 05:24pm PT
Just wanted to bump this up and say thanks for one of the best threads on ST in a long time, quality content from the mouths of those involved. Brilliant stuff and amazing stories. Cheers Avery
Tricouni

Mountain climber
Vancouver
Nov 17, 2014 - 05:42pm PT
Steve, PM sent.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 18, 2014 - 01:15pm PT
MT Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock cont...


Thanks to Will Sim
Gregg Cronn

Mountain climber
Bellingham
Nov 18, 2014 - 10:27pm PT

Barry approached me on a Saturday in the middle of a rock course with a crazy plan: Leave Sunday night from Canmore, climb the North Face of Alberta Mon-Fri, and teach the next scheduled beginning rock course the following weekend. We were not given much of a chance at pulling it off. "Everyone, said Chris Miller, walks into Alberta, no one actually climbs it."

We did get up the route, thanks to Barry's seasoning in Yosemite, brilliant climbing and our youthful drive and enthusiasm. It was a blessed experience that Barry has written about eloquently in his book.

A few memory's from the climb:

We were in awe at:
1. Tobin's last flight down the face. It was horrible to think about. The poor guy (RIP brother); and
2. George Lowe. We repeated and laughed over our favorite phrase during the climb, "George wasn't f*#king around." George got a chuckle out of that when I shared that with him on K2 in the summer of '86.


We actually did break 3/4 tools on the climb. It is comical to think that we would launch up these big faces with 70 cm Forrest ice axes and ice hammers. Although it did make walking easier on the glaciers.

Alberta is easily one of my best experiences in the mountains. Incredibly beautiful mountain with a lovely drape of alpine ice to complete the ascent. (I wanted to name my daughter Alberta but my wife refused!) Plus it cemented a lifetime friendship with Barry. We were in our early '20's and it was the start of some great days in the mountains through the mid '80's. Well before the losses of so many good friends and companions started racking up: Dave Cheesmond, Kim Momb, Ian Bult, Dan Guthrie, Catherine Freer...Some fine people who paid the cost of a frenetic period of Alpinism.
Folks in Canmore were quite worried for our well being. It rained hard all week in town and people grew concerned when we didn't come dragging back to town.
We did actually make it back for the next weekend's rock course. James Blench was kind enough to lead the Friday night session as we were driving back from the Icefields. Ah, the strength of youth, Barry slept in the back of van while I drove us back to Canmore-finishing the day that started at a bivy on the summit ridge in the bar at midnight. We were so proud. We took turns that weekend slipping off into the woods for naps.

Barry and I got to recently do what I would wish for all mountaineers: sharing some beers in the bar, long in tooth, telling stories. With love.
Great thread and stories. So impressed with some of the ascents cataloged here.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 18, 2014 - 11:30pm PT
Many thanks Gregg, I really appreciate your input.

I was going through all the names of the successful Alberta NF climbers, and realized to my embarrassment that I missed you altogether. My apologies for a monumental blunder!
Correcting that blunder was one of the more satisfying outcomes I've had on Supertopo.

Your views are very interesting and counterbalance Barry's nicely.

Cheers!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 18, 2014 - 11:34pm PT
Great photos and stories, Gregg - thanks for sharing.
With all the smiles in the photos the climb starts to seem friendly...
until I look at the lack of pro and rope hanging out from the wall on the headwall. Yikes.
So good that you guys pulled it off and are still around to enjoy the memories.
Bushman

Social climber
The island of Tristan da Cunha
Nov 19, 2014 - 01:36am PT
Avery,

As many know, Tobin Sorenson is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in our home town of Covina, California. I have always believed that my brother's heart and essence remain on the North Face of Mount Alberta. For all of the years since he perished there I have often wondered at the grandeur and allure of this enigmatic mountain. Being only proficient at rockcraft during my climbing years, I had never pursued mountains in a big way, and have been ever curious about the ascents on Alberta that have been done before and after when Tobin paid the ultimate price for pursuing his passion and love in the region that he so ultimately and ironically wanted to call home.

These past few weeks I have learned so much more about the history and legacy of the place through this thread, with all the climber's stories and photos documenting their forays on to the mountain. I am humbled as I read it and grateful to you for your work in compiling this history and chronology of climbing that face, and am looking forward also to see of any more accounts of ascents posted here.

-Tim Sorenson
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 19, 2014 - 02:58am PT
Thank you so much Tim,

This for me is the ultimate approbation. When I first started climbing way back in 1981 Tobin was my hero and inspiration. By the time I found out he had died, almost eight months had passed. I found out from my friend Rob Hall, who has also joined Tobin and a whole host of others who found death in the mountains. I know Tobin, only by reputation and an almost universal affection from the climbing world of that time.

Brothers have unique bond, I know this from doing nearly all my climbing with my own brother. I know I would've be devastated if he were taken during those most exciting of years, when every day was so different from the last. I can only guess about the memories of Tobin you have, some 34 years latter. My experiences with Rob Hall are, sadly, nothing more than a slowly dispersing trail of memories. However, the unpardonable march of time still trips me up, from time to time, I'm happy to say.

Thanks again
Dave Hough

climber
Keene, NY
Nov 19, 2014 - 09:49am PT
Wow one the best threads. I can add a tick to the history of failures column from late summer 1979. If memory serves it was a very warm, hardly any ice, lots of rockfall and not much of an attempt. In fact this was one of a string of failures from a month of climbing in the Canadian Rockies. An incredible humbling, spectacular, scarey place. I kind of loved it.

Keep the stories coming.

Dave
RDB

Social climber
wa
Nov 19, 2014 - 06:33pm PT
Great stories. Thanks for making this one happen!
Not much into failures but Alberta was a BIG one for us. I/we went in 3 and .5 times. Trip down memory lane for sure.

On the way into the "black hole" years prior to the Alberta Hut install.

Gregg called me a few hours ago and for a while we were kids again talking smack and laughing at our bravado and luck from 35 years ago! #1 was '78 just prior to a fall trip to Europe. Alberta makes the Alps look "easy" in so many ways.



Another failure.

Next time was fall of '80 just after Tobin was killed. We didn't know of the accident at the time. But at the shoulder and base of the North face it was obvious something bad had happened. I picked up a few trilobite fossils and unknowingly found evidence of who had been their prior. We all knew of Tobin. Once we figured out some of what had happened, we were done. It is a long way in and a scary place to be alone. At least for me anyway.


Then a trip with Tom and Jeep. '81 iirc? Just below Wooley shoulder I tripped in the creek an needed stitches in my shin at boot height. Wearing runners of course. Bone was showing so back to Banff to get sewed up. Wade the river again, after the bivy at the base of the face pictured above. Rock fall cuts up my hand leading back up the rap gully to the shoulder. Still have those scars.

Last walk in ('82) rock fall drove us off the yellow band? Just prior to the headwall..which looked really hard fwiw. By the fall of '83 the face had been done a third time. I decided rock climbing on warm granite was more fun and less painful about the same time :)
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 19, 2014 - 06:44pm PT
Thanks a lot, RDB

Great pics, truly evocative of the period.

If you have anymore, don't hesitate to post...
RDB

Social climber
wa
Nov 19, 2014 - 08:13pm PT
Sponsors and pro deals circa '78? You gotta be kidding. Wool shirts were from JC Penny.

Brad?
RDB

Social climber
wa
Nov 19, 2014 - 08:37pm PT
Ha, Ha! And you're Canadian Jim!
Mid summer and late Fall bitd for dry conditions...the Sunwapta was a many, many braided stream, the beginnings of a river once it drops into the valley a mile or so down stream. Us Yanks were just as likely to drown there!

point being..
"You could wade the many creeks, as your photo demonstrates, or drop MANY trees...few or none of them big enough to get across just one braid of that "river" across it as a bridge and hope it doesn't wash away..."

Up side? The Sunwapta is literally right off the road. You have the rest of the day to unthaw your feet. Likely better today when the thing is frozen up. Huts, bivy caves, dry tooling!? Life is getting easier :)

Until you have been back there..into "the hole" I think it is hard to appreciate the mental and physical effort..even today...that a successful summit requires. N Ridge of Columbia, Twin and Alberta are some amazing climbs in a stellar location. We're lucky to still have such a place.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Nov 20, 2014 - 12:53am PT
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 20, 2014 - 01:50am PT
Thanks RDB, classic pic.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 20, 2014 - 02:34pm PT

Mt Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock cont...


Thanks to Will Sim
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 21, 2014 - 01:21pm PT

Mt Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock cont...


Thanks to Will Sim
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 21, 2014 - 11:18pm PT

Mt Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock cont...


Thanks to Will Sim
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 22, 2014 - 01:34pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Steve Swenson and Kit Lewis


Special thanks to Mark Kroese. (From his book "Fifty Favorite Climbs in North America: The Ultimate North American Tick List")
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 22, 2014 - 01:52pm PT
Hey, Avery, I think you forgot a page! Jess sayin', but keep up the good work! :-)
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 22, 2014 - 02:00pm PT
Thanks Reilly, just fixed it!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 22, 2014 - 02:44pm PT
Great stuff. Cool story and spectacular color shot.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 23, 2014 - 12:42am PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: George Lowe and Jock Glidden

Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 23, 2014 - 12:52am PT
I started this thread with the hope of identifying and naming the climber's responsible for the first six ascents. With a little help from my friends this has been accomplished. (fingers crossed)

I then decided to approach every successful NF party I knew of, in the hope of getting a short trip report from each. So far, I have ten excellent reports covering ten separate ascents of Alberta's NF. (This includes Will Sim's pics)

With that in mind. I would like to thank: Peter Arbic, Andy De Klerk, Dana Ruddy, Jon Walsh, Vince Anderson, Will Sim, Jason Kruk, Gregg Cronn, Steve Swenson and last, but not least, George Lowe

It will be most interesting to see if the remaining two ascent reports are forthcoming!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Nov 23, 2014 - 08:08am PT
Well done Avery!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
Nov 23, 2014 - 04:10pm PT
Really scary stories. Looks like you don't want to consider this route unless there is a thick ice layer over that yellow band. (what Swenson and Lewis encountered)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 23, 2014 - 06:41pm PT
Wow, the Lowe article is pretty cool.
Was that in Ascent?

[Edit to add:] Kind of amazing that they climbed it with a Goldline rope (although many hard climbs were done before kernmantel ropes, and this was close to the time when Goldline was going out of favor, I think).
I wonder if they thought the Goldline might be a bit more robust to rockfall?
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 23, 2014 - 07:52pm PT
Yes Clint, I believe it was "Ascent".
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Nov 23, 2014 - 11:38pm PT
Clint,

I was thinking the exact same thing about using Goldline rope. It it gets cut, you certainly know it. But, the rope handling characteristics....well, they sometimes make soloing look very, very good.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Nov 24, 2014 - 12:14am PT
For those looking for another great thread with articles and photos on another one of George Lowe's epic first ascents in the Candian Rockies here is a link to a thread on the North Face of North Twin:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/890216/North-Twin-North-Face-G-Lowe-C-Jones-Ascent-75-76
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 25, 2014 - 03:17pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock.
http://willsim.blogspot.co.nz/

Somehow we pulled it off, the plan A, the big one, shit; i didn't think that ever happened.

The North Face of Alberta is what I’d call a mythical face. In form, its pyramidal spike of a gable-end is so pleasingly intimidating; it must be one of the most spectacular faces i know of. This incredible photo by the aerial photographer John Scurlock is what inspired me a few months ago to put the N face of Alberta at the very top of my list of things to do.
Although only really a marginal window for what we wanted to attempt, it was our last chance so we had to take it. What we were wanting to attempt was the House-Anderson line on the N Face of Alberta. An incredible looking line which was put up at the end of winter, 7 years ago by the amazingly driven American team of Steve House and Vince Anderson.
With most of our gear stashed up there already, we made the walk in over Woolley Shoulder pretty fast and were chilling out in the sun for most of the afternoon before we left.

The alarm went at 2.30a.m. and it all felt right. It's amazing how different you can feel before an intimidating route, sometimes you'll do anything for that alarm not to go off, sometimes you can't wait to get on with it. After forcing a bagel and a litre of water down my neck we got wrapped up and headed out in to the perfect crisp morning.

To get to the bottom of the N face you have to make a series of raps to the lower glacier which feeds off the face. After walking for an hour we were nearly at the point where we down climbed to make the first abseil when i made a horrifying discovery. My belay plate was not on my harness. What the f*#k! How is that possible? After quickly checking the contents of my bag it was obvious i didn't have it. My magic plate has been attached to my alpine harness for about 5 years, i never take it off, along with two slings a screwgate and a ropeman i never remove it for the precise reason that it would be catastrophic to not have it in a situation like this. After some brief thoughts of anger at myself and how cruel it all seemed, my mind immediately flicked on to thinking of alternative methods of belaying and abseiling. With about 5 raps to get to the route, multiple pitches of very technical climbing, and god knows how many raps to get off the mountain, my belay plate was going to be sorely missed. Nick wanted to bail immediately; the wind had got up and stood freezing ourselves while having a debate about how possible the route would be with one belay plate things had suddenly got desperate in just an hour from waking up. I did my best to persuade Nick and in the end he agreed to give it a shot, i owe him for giving it a chance, with roles reversed I’m not sure what I’d do. I still don't know where my belay plate is.
We made about 4 abseils, 2 of which were free hanging, plus some down climbing to make it to the lower glacier. We managed to leave as little gear as we could, conscious that we needed to conserve it for the climbing ahead. I now know we actually abbed off the wrong spur, and it would have been better to go 200 metres further north.
With this over, we were now beneath one of the most inspiring faces I’ve ever stood beneath, and we could see it was absolutely plastered with whiteness, it looked awesome, so we strolled over to the schrund and got stuck in.

The brilliant line of the House-Anderson goes up the ice streaks in the centre of the headwall, with hard mixed climbing above and beneath, this is why i love alpine climbing, the lines on big mountains are just so inspiring. The pitches up to the top ice blob had been repeated by Canadians Jason Kruk and Joshua Lavigne when they climbed their great looking new line on the left side of the headwall in 2012.
We climbed the last few pitches of day one in the dark. A 50 metre pitch of bullet-hard WI5+with wild stemming on the right wall was exhausting. The pitch above was an incredible yet very worrying skin of vertical and overhanging ice. Nick put up a brilliant lead, and I’ll leave it to him to tell the story of how he climbed it. I spent the whole pitch belaying with my bag on top of my head as i was directly in the firing line.
A pitch later and we were relieved to find the legendary cave feature that Kruk and Lavigne found. Although we knew it was there, we didn't know for sure whether we'd be able to get in to it, or if it was iced over or blocked somehow. We were relieved to be able to enter it and have the most surreal bivy of our lives. Narrow to begin with, we crawled to where it opened out and it felt like entering a cathedral. A huge tube covered in rime ice penetrated in to the mountain. We weren't sure how deep to go, as we needed to have some indication of light outside, but it goes deep, really deep.

We didn't take bivy kit, i had a duvet jacket and some insulated trousers, curled up on the ropes and had a few hours of shivering with occasional bouts of sleep.
After leaving the cave, we climbed a few pitches then hit a kind of dead end. Nick went up and left, and belayed beneath a steep blank looking wall. I started up one weakness, which after a little excavation turned out to be a blank seam. I then traversed right and noticed a steep flake firing up the wall, it looked improbable but i got involved anyway. I battled my way up it with arms exploding for the final 10 metres. I think given the circumstances it was one of my hardest leads. I've done much easier VIII's in Scotland.
Three continually tricky pitches later and we were off the headwall. 150 metres of easy angled rock and ice lay above us which we climbed in three long pitches to reach the south East Ridge.
By this point the weather had taken a real turn for the worse. It was windy and snowing, and as so often is the case with these things, we walked straight over the summit, no hug, no handshake not even an acknowledgement that we were on top. The alarm bells were starting to sound in my head, we needed to get as far down the mountain as we could before darkness and the weather worsened still.

After down climbing the summit ridge, which seemed to take forever, we located the top of the Japanese route and started abseiling down the east face. The Japanese route, the easiest route up the mountain is probably the worst heap of choss I’ve ever seen. Extreme care was needed not to chop the ropes or worse with falling rock when we abbed. The night went on and on and once finished with the abseiling we started down climbing the easier angled lower sections. In the dark and snow it was very hard to navigate, and we were cliffed out everywhere we went. In the end we decided to call it and spent another night shivering in a foetal position. I got my head under a boulder and tried to find a happy place.
After scrutinizing photos I’d taken a few days earlier of the mountain in good weather, i managed to work out where we were, and the next morning, with blocks of wood for feet, we stumbled out on to the glacier after the most intense bit of navigation I’ve ever done.

Sitting by a fire with a beer in my hand, it seems to be sinking in. But I’d like to say that climbing that line in March like Steve and Vince did is seriously inspiring. They must be made of tough stuff.

By Will Sim (With his kind permission)
Chris Jones

Social climber
Glen Ellen, CA
Nov 26, 2014 - 02:43pm PT
What was the story about the Goldline rope on Lowe & Glidden's 1972 ascent of the North Face? After all, Goldline had been pretty much superseded everywhere. As I recall George's story, some years before in Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, there was a fatal leader fall. Apparently the leader's rope ran over an edge or ridge and the kernmantel rope was severed. George, a physicist after all, believed that Goldline would be more resistant to such cutting forces.
I don't believe we climbed on "laid" ropes after about 1964. I distinctly remember buying such laid ropes in London for the sole purpose of taking them to Chamonix to sell to Snell Sports! Some European climbers apparently preferred them to the-then available kernmantel ropes. And we in turn bought European kernmantel ropes from Snell .....

This thread is making my palms sweat. Great narratives!
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 26, 2014 - 09:38pm PT
Nice to hear from you, Chris.
Chris Jones

Social climber
Glen Ellen, CA
Nov 27, 2014 - 07:41pm PT
Our first close-up view of Alberta's north face was both scary and humbling. In 1970 Denny Eberl, Gray Thompson and I hiked up the Athabasca River with the idea of climbing Alberta and then Columbia. Our plan was to outfox Alberta by attacking the black rock band at what appeared to be a point of weakness - the northwest ridge. The note from a 1963 Vulgarian party we found at our bivi was not encouraging: "Go back, go back to the pass, you will all be killed." After some reasonable climbing we found ourselves at the foot of a pillar of black rock. (Looking at the marked photo in Steve Swenson's account in the thread above, in profile to the right of the north face one can see a lesser-angled arete abut the final steepness; I believe we were at this point). In casting around leftwards for a better way we suddenly came upon a deathly view across the north face of Alberta. Suddenly with thousands of feet of incredible exposure thrust upon us we were awestruck. No one of us had ever done anything quite like this!

Our route on the pillar to the summit icefield seemed so near, but the situation was bad. No anchor worth a damn, and no protection to speak of. We backed off.

But a year or so later, Alberta's north face became a climb I badly wanted to try. Sidelined by a ski accident in 1972, I was stunned when I learned that George Lowe, my old climbing pal from Chamonix, had seized the prize. I realized that the Rockies were no longer a quiet backwater and that I had better get on with it.

In Lowe's account of the Alberta climb above, there is a rather fraught picture laconically titled: "Approaching the second pendulum on the complex pitch: Jock Glidden follows." As the above account makes clear, Lowe did all the significant leading on the headwall. Talking about the climb one day, George said of this picture. "When Jock got to the belay I was amazed to see he was not clipped into the jumars." Glidden was not a climber remotely at George's level. He evidently did not know how to use jumars, and to my knowledge had never climbed in Yosemite and learned contemporary techniques; skills you needed on these new Rockies climbs. This confidence in his ability, and his willingness to lead all the hard climbing, sets George apart in that era. Certainly, if I had had a chance to attempt Alberta in 1972, I would have wanted the strongest partner known to me. And that would have been George, or his cousin Jeff Lowe.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 27, 2014 - 07:48pm PT
Climbing history at it's finest.

Many thanks, Chris.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Nov 28, 2014 - 11:32am PT
How did you feel, Chris, when you were at the base of North Twin?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 28, 2014 - 11:52am PT
Another amazing Canadian Rockies thread- North Face of North Twin.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/890216/North-Twin-North-Face-G-Lowe-C-Jones-Ascent-75-76
Chris Jones

Social climber
Glen Ellen, CA
Nov 28, 2014 - 01:42pm PT
AP: Nervous.
Avery

climber
NZ
Nov 30, 2014 - 08:29pm PT

Mt Alberta, North Face: Will Sim and Nick Bullock cont...


Many thanks to Will Sim
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 1, 2014 - 06:37pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Joshua Lavigne and Jason Kruk cont...
http://joshualavigne.smugmug.com/


Thanks to Joshua Lavigne
dave729

Trad climber
Western America
Dec 1, 2014 - 10:45pm PT
Dying on the north face Alberta?...Ok...can think
of several better places to cash in. Its all about the view you know.
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 2, 2014 - 02:11pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Joshua Lavigne and Jason Kruk cont...


Thanks to Joshua Lavigne
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 2, 2014 - 10:25pm PT

Mt Alberta, North Face: Joshua Lavigne and Jason Kruk cont...


Thanks to Joshua Lavigne
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 2, 2014 - 11:41pm PT
This is from the 1985 Seventh Edition of The Rocky Mountains of Canada North by Robert Kruszyna and William L. Putnam.

This is a wonderful guide, and the enthusiastic politeness of its Canadian prose has you shaking your head with a big smile when you are out someplace knowing full well that a 7 sentence description of a major alpine face couldn't possibly prepare you for what you bought into. Yet there you are...

Here is what you would have read for Mount Alberta had you used this guide... from pages 128-129


Mount Alberta (3619m)

One of the finest peaks in the Rockies, a singular uplift that is difficult on all sides. The first ascent by the Japanese party was a notable achievement, marking the end of the era of first ascents of the major peaks in the Canadian Rockies. A spirited account of the historic FA may be found in AAJ 8-466.

FA July 1925, S. Hashimoto, H. Hatano, T. Hayakawa, Y. Maki, Y. Mita, N. Okabe, J. Weber, Hy Fuhrer, H. Kohler. E Face. Approach via Woolley Shoulder, skirting Little Alberta on the N where there is a small campsite. The line taken varies somewhat, but in general begins on the lower-angled SE slopes, where good bivouac sites may be found at approximately 2700m (snow melt water). One long day from the highway. An hour of scrambling takes one to the base of the black rock of the SE buttress. Traverse on easy ledges around to right (N), choosing a line that will lead to the summit ridge at the first prominent notch from its S end. Some parties have had success by aiming for the second notch. Serious route-finding problems on steep black rock. Follow the narrow summit crest N to a further 20m notch, where a rope is often left for return, and so to the top. 8 h from bivouac. Descent is usually made by a series of long rappels (10) starting from the southern most notch. IV (AJ 37-316; 374; AAJ 7-124, marked photo; CAJ 32-1).

2-N Face.
One of the finest modern climbs yet established in the Rockies. Steep ice followed by steep rock. August 1972, J Glidden, G. Lowe. Approach via Woolley Shoulder and pass N of Little Alberta to gain shoulder on NE ridge (one day from highway). Descend a chimney to the glacier N of Alberta and cross to the foot of the face. Some 600m of ice climbing leads to the upper rocks, which initially are loose and moderately steep. The steep upper wall requires about 10 pitches, with some aid, to reach the summit icefields. FA party bivouacked twice; V, F9, A2 (CAJ 56-35).
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 3, 2014 - 12:22am PT
like all good guidebooks of the type, the best descriptions are how to get into the places for the adventure... I mention it because I have an image...

on pages 98 and 99


Approaches

Woolley Shoulder. This is the most commonly used approach at the N end of the Icefield. Although originally pioneered as an approach to Mount Alberta, this route also gives access to the N end of the Icefield and to peaks at the head of Athabasca River such as Mounts Columbia and King Edward. The canyon leading W to the 2900m Shoulder between Mount Woolley and Unnamed (Engelhard) is the first major one some 5 km N of Tangle Creek. Ford the Sunwapta River opposite the canyon, the place being marked by a small "island" of trees immediately W of the highway. Follow a now well-trodden trail along the S side of the creek to a vast morained basin (campsite at last greenery). Hike NW to gain glacier descending from saddle and follow its margin close under Mount Woolley. Ascend tortuous scree and nasty cliffs to Shoulder. 7-8 hours from highway. For Mount Alberta, descend in NW direction to pass Little Alberta on N. To reach Athabasca River, descend SE to pleasant meadows and then drop down into the valley of Habel Creek, passing Little Alberta on the S. (While it is also possible to reach Habel Creek by passing Little Alberta on the N, the descent of the headwall is problematical.) Follow Habel Creek (occasional vestiges of ancient trail) to its junction with Athabasca River; a long day from highway, From the pleasant meadows mentioned above, one can round the head of Habel Creek and ascend the glacier flowing between the two peaks of Mount Stutfield, thus gaining the Icefield.




Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 3, 2014 - 01:33am PT
How times have changed. Thanks Ed.
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 3, 2014 - 03:37pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Joshua Lavigne and Jason Kruk cont...


Thanks to Joshua Lavigne
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 3, 2014 - 09:15pm PT

Mt Alberta, North Face: Joshua Lavigne and Jason Kruk cont...


Thanks to Joshua Lavigne
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 3, 2014 - 10:25pm PT

Mt Alberta, North Face: Joshua Lavigne and Jason Kruk cont...

Thanks to Joshua Lavigne
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Dec 3, 2014 - 11:15pm PT
Bumping to keep real climbing on the
Front page
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 4, 2014 - 09:53pm PT
Mt. Alberta, Brazeau-Walsh. (1,000m, 5.11 M6)

On September 6 Jon Walsh and I forded the frigid waters of the Sunwapta River with a bit of food, lots of fancy-wrapped processed sugar/caffeine products, and high hopes for good conditions on the remote and seldom visited north face of Mt. Alberta. After a few hours of fitful sleep in Lloyd Mackay hut, we woke at midnight to brew coffee and oats. A full moon greeted us as we made our way to the rappels to the base of the face. However, the moon snuck behind the bulk of the mountain and, despite Jonny Red having rapped to the base before (and sketching out the same way due to poor conditions), we missed the rappel line, lightened our already skimpy rack, and increased our doubts. What are we doing here? Why can’t we just sport climb in the sun? Or drink coffee in the sun, for that matter? But with dawn comes fresh thoughts and psyche, as we get our first look at the face, which appears to be in perfect shape. There’s a weakness to the right of the Lowe-Glidden 1972 route (nice work boys!) that jumps out at us, and we have no need to discuss it. What a magnificent day!
Not a cloud in the sky, a pristine mountain environment, glaciers rolling down to valley bottom, seldom-seen and even less-visited alpine meadows and lakes, and not another soul for days.It feels so good to be here it’s a little disconcerting. I take a load off on the glacier as JR charges on, thinking (rightly, it turns out) that we won’t be sitting down for a while. By the time I catch up he’s racked and 15' off the deck, trailing a rope. Fired up! We simul the first few pitches to the big ice field, then put the ropes away and… what luck! The ice is perfect for one-swing sticks, and we move quickly to the base of the headwall. We rope up again and are engaged, swapping leads and finding perfect conditions: a fine balance of iced-up crack and good pick placements, warm enough for hands-on rock climbing but cold enough to keep the ice from delamming. What luck! How many factors had to come together to make for these conditions and for us to be here at this moment?
These thoughts roll around in my mind, tumbling with my doubts and fears as we slowly move upward. I don our one pair of rock shoes for a couple of pitches. Jon follows in his bootsand crampons; the aiders and ascenders stay in the pack. What luck! We top out on the summit ice field in the last rays of the day, only a few easy ice pitches to go. The fears and doubts ebb but leave that exhilarating buzz that will linger for days. Hugs on top, followed by some chocolate and a green tea brew. Jon finally gets to sit down after 21 hours on the go. The hazy sky dims the full moon, but the views of the Columbia Ice fields are incredible and inspire talk of future adventures. All we have to do now is get down one UGLY chossy descent, and watch the breaking of another new day as we stumble back to the hut 30 hours after leaving it.
How lucky we felt that everything came together and we were able to journey to the mountain, and on.

Chris Brazeau, Canada
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 5, 2014 - 05:30pm PT
Mt. Alberta, Anderson-House. (VI WI5+ M8 R/X)

At 4:30 a.m. on March 26, 2008, in bitter cold, Steve House and I left the Lloyd McKay hut and approached the ridge leading to the rappel station down to the north face of Mt. Alberta. A harsh breeze made it was hard to fully appreciate the beauty of the aurora display on the northern horizon, dazzling and ominous at the same time. After rappelling onto the northern slopes, my losing and then finding one of my ice tools, sometime between 9 and 9:30 we arrived at the base of the north face, roped up, and started the real climbing.
We climbed what we may be the common approach pitches, probably M5, though pho­tos in the guidebook seem to put the normal start farther right, and where we went did not feel that “climbed.” Anyway, we reached the base of the ice (snow) field in three pitches. We put the ropes away and soloed the incredibly steep (for snow climbing) face, passing the occasional bare ice patch. Near the Yellow Band, the snow yielded to the typical steely, hard, gray ice you’d expect there. We got the ropes out again and did three easy but scrappy mixed pitches through the Yellow Band to the base of the steep, rock headwall. The weather deteriorated, and it start­ed to snow and cloud over. We considered bailing to the Northeast Ridge, but continued convincing ourselves that retreat would still be feasible from a short ways higher. We could see the start of the Gladden-Lowe route nearby, but found a crack system 60m right that looked like better climbing in these winter conditions. Two long, difficult pitches (M7 and M8R/X) of high-quality dry-tooling led up and left to intersect the G-L above its third pitch, in the snowy alcove described for that climb. Here the G-L angles up and right onto a buttress, but we found a steep, narrow ice pillar above. It was now about dark, probably 9 p.m., and we hoped to find a decent bivouac spot above the obvious ice. After an exhausting bout with this pitch (cold, black ice) and one more short pitch through snow mushroom s, we found a bivy spot between mushroom s that was somewhat protected from the now-frequent spindrift ava­lanches. We fixed 30' of the next pitch, and by 1 a.m. we were finally settled in and ready to try to sleep. The night was cold, but tolerable. Our down sleeping bags had gotten a little wet, but we hoped to avoid another night on the mountain.We woke after 6 a.m. and slowly made our way out of our wet cocoons and back onto the climb. Steve had done the bulk of the hard leading the previous day, so I took the sharp end and started up a small ice corner to the end of the water ice. A small ledge system then tra­versed right, towards the G-L and the summit ice slopes. Deep snow covered the airy traverse, which required belly crawling and precarious tip-toeing to reach a niche with more moderate ground above. By now, most of our gloves were frozen hard and semi-useless from constant immersion in the snow, making it quite diffi­cult to manipulate the gear. Another few pitches of good mixed climbing up flakes, corners, and slabs covered in thin neve (M7 and M6) brought us back to the G-L exit pitch. A short bit of moderate mixed terrain put us onto the upper slopes, from where we continued straight up on slabby mixed, because we thought the exit traverse onto the ice seemed convoluted. The ground we climbed, however, would probably be less attractive in summer conditions. A 150m pitch put us onto the summit ridge and gave us our first glimpse of the sun in two days. At 5:45 p.m. we stopped briefly on top before heading down the corniced south ridge toward the Japanese Route. Unsure of where to descend the east face, we guessed the wrong gully and spent a truly miserable night out, shivering in our frozen, useless sleeping bags, before brilliant morning sun­shine greeted us on the 28th. By 10 a.m. we were safely in the flat basin and slogged back to the hut, where we could eat, drink, and rest a bit before heading out for Steve’s truck.

Vince Anderson
AAC
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 8, 2014 - 03:26pm PT

Thanks to Brock Wagstaff
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 8, 2014 - 07:32pm PT
Mt. Alberta, Brazeau-Walsh. (1,000m, 5.11 M6)


Thanks to Jon Walsh
Batá416

Trad climber
Calgary
Dec 11, 2014 - 06:03am PT
FWIW, here's a shot looking down into the gully that comes up from the west side to join the NW ridge. Would like to know if the last pitch below the icefield is really A2. (We backed off on account of a general lack of skill and courage.)
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 27, 2014 - 01:20pm PT
Brandon P

Mountain climber
Canmore
Dec 27, 2014 - 10:02pm PT
I have been working on a book with Urs Kallen for a decade about routes such as this. It is called the Bold and Cold and was started with Dave Cheesmond in 1985. It will be out in the summer. There are 25 routes, it is the ultimate tick list. RMB is publishing it. Rock on.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 30, 2014 - 05:37pm PT
A really nice detailed photo of the Mt. Alberta North Face headwall, by John Scurlock
from
http://www.pbase.com/nolock/image/104546961
Avery

climber
NZ
Dec 30, 2014 - 06:20pm PT
Impressive!, thanks Clint.
Avery

climber
NZ
Jan 18, 2015 - 10:11pm PT
Thanks Jim.
Avery

climber
NZ
Feb 27, 2015 - 01:18pm PT
Mt Alberta, North Face: Scott Backes and Bill Bancroft

Bill Bancroft and I did the 5th ascent of the Lowe route in 1990. We started up the face around Aug 5th I think?? Roped up for the first couple of rock pitches and then soloed the ice. Bill took a rock through the top lid of his pack!! Rockfall was so awful by the time we got to the yellow band we stopped a the Lowe Bivy (which was pretty sheltered) and climbed the yellow band early the next morning by tying our two ropes together and not putting in any gear till after the knot. We climbed up to the crux which was a waterfall-no ice tongue for us! Tried another way and took a whipper aid climbing then it started raining. We gave-up for the day and bivied again in the rain. Next morning everything was soaking wet and we were going to bail-then the sun came out and by 10:30am the face was dry enough to continue. I took off all my fleece and in underwear and g-tex lead the crux pitch. Water pouring off me and scary expando for sure. We got to within a couple of pitch of the summit ice field and rain again. Bivied again! Rough night of lightning-we lowered the rack and everything metal and hoped for the best. Next morning same as the previous day we waited and waited then the sun came out and we finished to the summit. Here's the crazy part...On the summit we thought we heard voices and although it had been an arduous ascent we were not that wasted! Turns out Tim Auger was leading 6 other Park Wardens on a "Training" and had taken them up the Japanese route. We descended with them keeping us from being like every other party that had climbed the face before us and getting lost and bivying on the descent. Next day we walked out happy and satiated. All in all a proper adventure.

Thanks to Scott Backes
Avery

climber
NZ
Feb 28, 2015 - 12:38pm PT
I started this thread with the hope of identifying and naming the climber's responsible for the first six ascents Alberta's NF. With a little help from my friends this has been accomplished.

I then decided to approach every successful NF party I knew of, in the hope of getting a short trip report from each. I ended up with eleven excellent reports covering eleven separate ascents of Alberta's NF. (This includes Will Sims’s pics)

With that in mind, I would like to thank: Peter Arbic, Andy De Klerk, Dana Ruddy, Jon Walsh, Vince Anderson, Will Sim, Jason Kruk, Gregg Cronn, Steve Swenson, Scott Backes and last, but not least, George Lowe.
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