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Ascent of Mount Hector on 2016-03-26

Climber: Ryan Allen

Others in Party:Ryan Mandryk
Steve Walker
Date:Saturday, March 26, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Hector
    Location:Canada-Alberta
    Elevation:3393 m / 11135 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Early start (0445) to get to parking lot by 0830. Packed parking lot (later counted 32 ppl on slope). Clear day with some occasional clouds at peak. Ascent was quick to glacier then slow from there. This was my first true glacier experience. Had read over the week prior tons about self belay, self arrest, walking arrangements and crevice rescue technique.

Some concerning travelling decisions by some of the groups ahead. Instead of staying high on the shoulder of a large, convex and steep face, they decided to shoot it straight up the middle. Given how busy it was that day, this likely was not the best option for themselves or those below. By the time we hit this face, our team was all sucking wind. We decided to ride the shoulder as winds continued to pick up and windchill dropped the perceived temp considerably. At the tip of the rock band we stopped for a quick lunch and continued to push on from there roped on skis.

The final push to the top was a 300m boot pack requiring ice axes. We were moving at a foot placement per 3-4 seconds. By this point we were feeling the effects of a hard day's work and potentially some of the altitude. With only the summit to be taken, we gave ourselves some time to recuperate and then get after the mixed ice/rock climb. A small ledge posed the issue and brought into question whether or not to use crampons. We elected to not use them as it was mostly exposed rock with much of the ice and snow having been scraped away by the other 30 people ahead of us.

Technically this wasn't an overly difficult crux, but the exposure and lack of existing pro (or places to put) made it difficult and our party uneasy. Luckily, another group who had been pacing with us all day was going to take the summit at the same time as us, though the 20 year old son was an experience ice climber. He made the first foray to the single piece of pro (one piton) and belayed the rest of our group through the crux. Once all three of us were through, the vis was closed out and we made the last few pushes to the summit.

Coming down was equally unnerving as foot placement through the summit crux was blind. Dexter, the son was able to aid and offered to belay our group through. With both parties safe at the col, we unskinned and prepared for the ski down. The sky had miraculously cleared and we were able to descend unroped from the top down the existing tracks, getting a mixture of windslab and ankle deep powder.

Take aways:
1) better rope mgmt @ top for multi-pitch type ascents
2) improve familiarity with crampons on rock
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1644 m / 5394 ft
    Trailhead:93N Parking Lot  1749 m / 5741 ft
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Rope, Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:7 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 30 Minutes



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