Thursday, July 26, 2007

Alpine Conditions: Mt Fay (July 25)

I climbed the Central Ice Bulge on the north face of Mt Fay today (July 25) with Brad hagen and Mark Zieber. We approached via the Perren Route yesterday which is snow free except for an awkward snow moat at the base of the 5th class quartzite climbing. This is best deeked by working up its left edge. The glacier is losing snow coverage fast as the firn line creeps up hill. The main crevasse areas are easy to negotiate. The snow walking is stumbly due to the slushy sun-cups in the afternoon.

Cooler temps and clear skies promoted a solid overnight freeze. We were pleasantly surprised to find the bergshrund well bridged with re-frozen debris. Good alpine ice on the face with a 2cm of soft recrystalized surface ice overlying the permanent blue ice. Only a small bit of old cornice remaining on the far right of the top-out. Start as early as possible because by 7am a few sun warmed rocks were beginning to clatter down.

The west ridge is bone dry making for quick travel. The bergshrund at the base of the short ice face leading to the ridge is easily passable (going up or down). The Roth-Kallen is a dirt chute complete with gaping shrund. Definitely should be avoided.

Crampons were used for the stream crossing at the end of Moraine Lake yesterday and today. The logs are slightly submerged and tres greasy. Crampons and a trekking pole makes this a non-issue.

Of note, there is no cell phone coverage at the Neil Colgan hut (I'm with Rogers) but by hiking only 30 vertical meters up hill behind the hut on the scree ridge of Mt Little, I was able to get full reception. Perfect for getting updated weather forecasts and reading bedtime stories to the kids.

All photos by Mark Pijl Zieber.