Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mt. Fryatt - South-West Face, Alpine II, 5.4

With crystal clear skies and no wind we had a glorious ascent of the South-West Face of Mount Fryatt on Sunday August 26.  Our team of 3 (V. Dewit, E. Coulthard, K. Barton) approached via the Geraldine Lakes trail on Saturday, with low clouds enveloping the summit of Fryatt for most of the morning and afternoon.  We had hoped the forecast of sun and 20 degrees would clear out the recent snow, but it turned out the face was in great shape.   We easily made our lake shore bivy (GR376218) in 7 hours.  To bed at sunset, up at 4am.

Left camp at 5am (temperature at bivy +1), arrived at the col south of the summit block just before the sun lit up the surrounding snow/ice faces, perfect timing.  The majority of the SW face was clear of snow and ice, with only the deepest gullies, or highest portions of the steep scree slopes held pockets of water ice covered with snow.  We tended to climber’s right fairly quickly making good progress on scree and easy scrambling.  Traversed one ice gully, then more moderated scrambling on loose slopes and buttress. 

Top of snow slope
 At the bottom of the “central” main gully we travelled up ice/snow slopes for about 150 metres to the final cliff between the face and the summit ridge.  Nearing the top of the ice/snow we had a surprise, a solo climber caught up to us (F. Jacso).  FJ got the green light from his wife later than the rest of us and decided to catch up to us. 
I believe we ascended to the final cliff band more right (east) than drawn in Bill Corbett’s guide.  Worked out great, about 25 metres above the snow, I lead a 30 metre pitch of 5.4 with great pro on solid holds to a set of two rappel anchors (slings around boulders).  A short scramble of 10 to 15 metres, then another short pitch of 5.3/5.1 to another rappel anchor (slings around boulder). All rock on this band was bone dry and quite solid. 

From the last station, easy to moderate scrambling to the summit.  Summit and final ridge bone dry. 6.5 hours to summit.  Great views, especially of Robson , Clemenceau and Tonquin Valley peaks.   We did three raps on the descent, all from boulders slung with cord/slings.  Downclimbed mostly rock ribs, avoiding gully systems, but there was no natural rock fall on descent.  Back to col and bivy site quickly.  Hiked out in about 6 hours with perfect weather.  All in, car to car 36 hours.

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