Greg heading up the Begbie summer trail.

     Two kilometers and 500m of vertical gain of dirt walking to finally ski  the E Face of  Mt Begbie had Greg and I ready to head back up to Rogers Pass for the next days adventure.  We head  out to get a peek at the North Face of  Mt Roger’s.  This 3169m peak is one of the area classics, named for the American surveyor Major A. B. Rogers, hired  by the Canadian Pacific  Railway to find a route through the Selkirk Range.   His discovery of the Rogers Pass,  sighted from some 30km to the west in 1881 (on his birthday), and crossed from the east the following year, earned him $5000 and the  honour of having the pass, and ultimately this gorgeous peak, bear his name.   He was apparently a tough boss, driving his men to near starvation on their foray’s into this mountain wilderness.

     The standard route up the Swiss glacier to  the Rogers/Grant col needs to be behind us as early as possible on this fine spring day, so we hammer out the ugly skinning below, and break out into the alpine in crisp morning air. 

Greg approaches Mt. Roger via the Swiss Glacier.

 Soon after, the ski crampons are on and we are pushing up the 40 degree slope to the col.  A traverse out to the East affords us a good view of the upper part of the our objective:  the North Face.  50+ degrees, dropping over a 1000 feet straight down from the ridge joining Rogers peak  with the sub-summit Fleming.  The top looks great.

Top of Rogers/Fleming North Face.

 

We finish off the fine snow ridge to the summit of Rogers, then carry on along the ridge North towards Fleming to the top of the line, the absence of any cornice allowing us to look straight down the face to the crevasse riddled abyss below.  And it looks really good. Can’t quite see if our intended exit goes, but what the heck.  Here’s Greg dropping in…

Greg drops N off the cornice free ridge between Rogers and Fleming, Swiss Peak in the back.

Leap-frogging down the face while managing the sluff created by our turns, conditions were perfect.  A few centimetres of cold spring snow stuck on to a nice solid base, giving confidence in the stability of the snowpack.  As the angle eases off,  we scoot across a  bench between an icefall and a large crevasse and over to the climbers left side of the glacier to see if we can get out of here.  It goes!

A perfect exit back up to the flat glacier on Roger's North side.

Our descent route.

 

Considering the early hour and our position,  an attempt to climb  Swiss Peak via the N ridge is decided on.  We skin and bootpack up the steep snow on the North side of Swiss that joins the ridge less than 100m from the summit.  Once we start up the ridge, things get a bit spicy, and a couple  of  exposed  moves to get us through some short rock steps. 

Cresting over the last steep step just below the summit.

A brief summit stop and a careful sideslip/sidestep down the NE face has us looking down the S couloir.  When we ascended this aesthetic line to ski the stellar run on the N Face last year all I could think about was what a wicked run it would be as well.  Unfortunately, it is now 3pm, and it has been baking in the sun all day.  Not yet isothermal, but very wet and heavy.  Pushing  the slush down in front of us, we descend with a wary eye for sluff releasing off the slopes that feed into our run. 

Greg sliding through the choke.

Swiss Peak descent

The Selkirks never cease to amaze, and “bagging” these two summits in this exceptional link-up made for a truly outstanding day.

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