That looks like a blast. Thanks for posting
Excellent trip report. Thanks very much for sharing. How do you feel this line compared in commitment level, and technical difficulty, to your climb on Mt.Waddington. Maybe a tough question based upon the different types of year...
Thanks...Both climbs are committing, though in different aspects. Waddington is more of an expedition climb- set up base camp after you fly or trek in, then head up to a high camp with a few days food and from there make a summit bid. While Colonel Foster is an alpine style climb- you can use Foster lake as a base camp, but it's a pure alpine style climb.
Bailing off Waddington is easier than the Colonel. Once you're past the first section of steep ice you're committed to climbing it. I know of a party that bailed off Direttissima last year, not sure how high they were, but they were past the first crux section, sounds like they had their hands full, as the ice hadn't formed well enough for trustworthy v-threads, so they had to shop for cracks in the rocks, sounded like a dodgy retreat.
Technically the climbing is more difficult on the Colonel and longer- 14 or so pitches of ice to grade 4 with a little rock action up high (you can and should avoid the rock vartiation near the top). While Waddington had 2 pitches of easy grade 2 ice with 4 pitches of rock and mixed climbing to 5.8. Colonel Foster in Winter requires more ice climbing, while Waddington will force you to use a few more skills while climbing it.
We left high camp on Waddington and returned 13 hours later, while on Foster it took us nearly 16 hours of climbing to just reach the summit ridge. Both climbs took 4 days
Both routes will test you physically, the Wadd has some altitude to deal with, as it's nearly 4000 meters...
Hope that helps! You from the Pacific Northwest?
An excellent report on a splendid climb.