Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mount Rogers SE Ridge

Update June 2017:
Google killed the Picasaweb photo service so the photos in this post no longer click through to larger versions. Here's an album containing the photos:

Brenda and I are slowly working our way through the "low hanging fruit" in Rogers Pass. Mount Rogers seemed to be the next peak within our grasp. We hiked up to Hermit Meadows on Saturday afternoon with designs on a half traverse that would take us up the southeast ridge and then down the large south facing snow slope between Rogers and Grant.

We found the Selkirks North guidebook to be a little confusing in its description of the route; you can approach on the east side or the west side of the SE ridge, begin at the middle or at the end, avoid difficulties on the left, or possibly on the right, or even travel right over the ridge and join it again at a later point, all with varying degrees of difficulty. So we weren't exactly sure what we would be getting into.

Coincidentally, on the hike up we ran into a fellow, who shall remain nameless, that we kind of knew but mainly by reputation, who would also be trying Rogers the next day. He was leading a small group that would be going up by the way that we planned to come down, so after dinner we strolled over looking for some advice.

It was a really weird conversation. I dunno, some folks you click with and some you don't. Everyone has different reasons for being in the mountains. We decided to ignore the "advice" we were given and stuck with our original plan. It was the right choice, and in retrospect we were reminded of a quote: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts” (Bertrand Russell).

The route was a fine, typical Selkirks ridge route. We went up the ramp to the notch on the ridge, and from here followed the SE ridge, sometimes on the crest (low 5th class), sometimes on climbers right (4th class). We had the rope out at a couple of points, but mainly this was to allow us stay on the ridge crest proper and avoid the less aesthetic 4th class rock on the east side.

Eventually the SE ridge joined the summit ridge above the Rogers-Grant col and from here it was mainly snow to the top.

This is the north side of the Swiss peaks (Grant, Fleming, and Swiss) a view that we have never seen before. The classic Swiss Peaks traverse goes from right to left.

As always it took longer than expected. 5 1/2 hours up. We hung out on the summit for a while trying to identify various peaks in the distance. Pretty sure we could see Mount Columbia and South Twin on the Columbia Icefields. The snow was getting sloppy on the way down but everything was pretty well bridged and we made good time down from the col and back across the glacier.

We met this fella just below the toe of the glacier and made a minor detour so as to not disturb him. I assume "fella". Do female mountain goats have horns?

A good day out and a good reconnaissance trip for doing the Swiss Peaks traverse on another day.