South Face Route Climber's Log

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Ialewis - Jan 22, 2008 10:22 pm

South Face Solo

I was on an extremely tight time schedule for this mountain but was well acclimatized after a month of fooling around on other mountains. Unfortunately, I burned two days getting to the base of the face due to some unexpected difficulties in finding my way up the valley. After one rest day, I crossed the spooky bergschrund started slogging my way up through the penitentes that guard the lower reaches of the face. After a couple of infuriating hours of struggling through the weird snow formations I found myself on better snow. However, the sun was up and I was continuously dodging rock fall ricocheting down from the various rock bands. Despite the low angle nature of this route, I would hesitate in recommending it due to its significant rock fall hazard. Once you are out in the middle of the face there is nowhere to hide and the numerous crevasses to the left and right of the route restrict your climbing to the most dangerous area of the face. I spent most of the climb “sprinting” (a somewhat misleading word at that altitude) between pathetically insufficient rock bands for cover and dodging rocks in the open by sidestepping the falling projectiles. I arrived at camp two at the top of the face to find the weather turning and the hour too late to push any higher on the mountain. I turned tail and down climbed the face. In total, I spent seven hours climbing and down climbing the face. My reward for this adventure was packing up my bag and big hike out to meet my ride, which was due to arrive the following day. If you are planning to climb this face, you may want to consider climbing it earlier in the season (to avoid the penitentes) and doing the face at night (to avoid rock fall). I also do not recommend soloing the route as the glacier above camp two has numerous crevasses which must be negotiated to summit the mountain.

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