December 11, 2004
GR244254 height: approx. 2,550
m (7,380 ft)
Elevation gain: approx. 700 m
Snowshoeing and scrambling with Mark.
Another reconnaissance mission, this
time to check out possible ascent routes for Mount Black Prince and the outlier
to the northeast of
. We expected snow and bad weather in the morning and clearing in the afternoon
- and that's exactly what we got. Unfortunately, by the time the clouds cleared
we had long since turned around and were well into our descent.
Snowshoeing to Lake
Warspite was quick and easy and we thought the remainder of the trip would be the same.
It was until we arrived at the final ascent slope leading to cirque beneath Mount
Warspite. Here the terrain was quite avalanche prone, (as the huge fields of avalanche
debris would attest to) and caution was in order. We ascended the debris until
we were confronted with the short, but much steeper section on the climbers
right of Warspite Cascades. Here, there was no avalanche debris, the snow was
very deep and unconsolidated and it was now snowing to boot! - prime conditions
for a slide. To minimize the potential of starting and/or getting caught in an
avalanche, we moved into the cover of the trees on the left and ascended there.
Though short, ascending the steep slope, through powdery, waist-deep snow was as
physically exerting as anything we have ever done and it took as a solid hour to
cover about 200 m of terrain (not that I should complain - Mark led the whole
By the time we made it to the cirque, the clouds had closed in to the point
where we couldn't even see Mount
at the end. We ventured further into the cirque and waited for a break in the
cloud cover. There were a few clear breaks, but all were followed by more thick
clouds and we decided to turn around. Ascending the outlier to the left was a
possibility, however, it looked it be a major avalanche waiting to happen.
Our grueling hour-long, 200 m ascent, took about 5 minutes to descend and
naturally by the time we were down, the clouds started to break up. We had no
intention of slogging up that slope again and settled for a pretty fine view of
the north face of the outlier peak, under increasingly clear skies.
Arriving at the cirque below Mount
The outlier peak, as seen on
Snow blowing off the outlier