Monday, August 11, 2014

Mt Sir Donald- Rogers Pass

I have wanted to climb Sir Donald since my first drive through Canadas Glacier Provincial Park over the legendary Rogers Pass. On my first visit with Gaelen three years ago the Classic ridge climb seemed daunting and committing so we climbed Mt Tupper instead across the highway. Gazing over at Sir Donald's knife ridge we knew we had to come back.

Gaelen took the train from Seattle to recuperate from a wrist injury she obtained while playing Frisbee and rafting. She iced and rested. After four days of this she felt confident enough to sign up to solo 3,000 feet of 5.4 with me on Sir Doanld. We left on Thursday, driving to Rogers Pass to obtain both the discovery pass and a back country permit. We packed up in the parking lot of the Asulkan Valley campground and headed for Sir Donald by 7:30 p.m. 

We bivied below to Uto/ SirDonal col on a beautiful meadow with running water and an Alpine Lake below. A total of three parties were up there to try the ridge the next day. We woke up and noticed that everyone had already left to begin the climb. We ate and left camp by 7 a.m. When we reached the col by 8 the other parties were making their way up the ridge, it looked marvelous. 

We began soloing wearing harnesses and helmets, carrying a rope in my pack and six long runners with Gaelen. The soloing was so much fun. We just climbed and talked and talked and climbed. It was so different than other climbing days together. It was a blast. The ridge went on for a long time and was so much fun that we actually didn't want it to end. The next false summit was a relief instead of dread because of the enjoyment. We didn't pull out the rope for any part of the climb and passed three parties on route, summiting from the col in 2 hours 15 minutes.

We chose to descend the SE ridge and cross below the summit on loose class 3 scree. This way down is tricky and a little dangerous because of the uncomfortable feeling of loose scree and crossing below climbers above on the ridge. Once we made it back to the ridge proper we continued down climbed to the rappels above the west face. We could have down climbed the entire ridge without using our rope, but decided to try out the rappels because we brought one. We walked back into the meadow camp by 230 p.m. After a refreshing nudey dip in the lake we hiked back to the car. 
We did the approach the evening before.
Camped on a sweet meadow below the col
with a small Alpine Lake and running water.

From the col.
We left the meadow at 7 and climbed up
to the col and begun the ridge climb by 8 a.m.

Stoked to solo 3,000 feet of 5.4

Fun moves All the way!

Great exposure All the way!

Selfie on the ridge.

Passing a party of 2 ladies from Squamish.
The yellow rap anchors mark the new and improved rappels

Awesome Views Everywhere!

The ridge Proper.
Solid Rock all the way.

A little break in exposure before the summit.

Where we go skiing in the winter.
I love Canada!

Summit cone : 2 hrs 15 mins.

Happy Buffalo!

Sapphire Glacier and Rampart Mountain in the background

Rapping the West face.
We brought the rope just for this reason.
6 raps.

The Alpine Lake at camp.
Amazing treat to take a dip.

Looking back up the route.
Up the left ridge to the summit and down the lookers
right ridge across the scree face back on the west ridge.

If you like getting into breathtaking mountains and moving fast on moderate terrain, it doesn't get any better than this route. I think that it is the Best 5.4 I have ever done. You can do the entire thing in approach shoes in one day if you want (10,000 feet of hiking/ climbing total). The bivy is nice and makes for a shorter second day. This part of Canada is amazing. The climbing and skiing adventures are multiple lifetimes worth. I can't wait to get back.

= Frerk