Tantalus Climbs and Squamish Climbs (October 2-5, 2009)

Friday, October 02, 2009

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An eventful few days near Squamish BC – took a helicopter to the tantalus hut (Jim Haberl Hut) at about 7000ft elevation which was to become our base for our climbing. Our intended targets are a subsummit of Tantalus, the summit of Serratus and the Summit of Dione. When we arrived the morning of the 2nd we prepped the hut and left for the tantalus subsummit.

Glacier was very sketchy just John and I short roped together with about 42 ft. of rope. It had snowed a ton and the crevasses were no longer visible. We were able to identify the larger crevasses through prodding, John fell in the odd small crevasse called the leg eaters. Climbed a couple of the icefalls, quite technical climbing and had a great day. The hut was freak’n cold that night.

The winds picked up that night and going out on day two was really spicy. We had high winds (about 60mph) and after putting in about 20minutes of treacherous glacier travel to get to the base of Serratus Mt. – even less visible crevasses now – we realized that I had forgotten my crampons. We turn around and started hiking back up the glacier to get my crampons. The winds had been blowing so hard our tracks were barely visible. With John in the lead prodding for crevasses he identifies a large one we can jump across. He jumps across, slack builds in the rope as I approached the crevasse as John is prodding for the next crevasse and as I take off the ground gives way. I drop about 35 feet into the big blue room. A massive crevasse where I can’t reach either side and can’t see the bottom. Up top John is caught unsuspecting and yanked off his feet and is hurtling towards the hole but is able to self arrest with about 7 feet to spare.

I cannot climb the rope it is buried into the lip so John provides additional rope and pulls me up using a 3:1 ratio and I am able to help with the aid of my ice axes as I get closer to the top. We called it a day after that as that was strike 2 after the crampon’s forgetting so we enjoyed the day in the freezing hut and improved my technical skills regarding crevasse rescue and self rescue.

The winds continued to pick up throughout that day and that night. By 6:00am on day 3 the winds were at 90mph (according to the helicopter pilot) – we aren’t going to climb in that – its risky enough to be on rock faces that are covered in ice and snow that you don’t need 90mph wind to deal with as well. We called the helicopter to come pick us up but of course it couldn’t land by the hut because of the winds so we climbed down the leeward side of tantalus mt. to a small ledge and the chopper picked us up there. We arrived in Squamish before noon – went for a quick lunch in town and then went and did some climbing at the smoke bluffs on the Chief.

We climbed the chief the next morning – Route Diedre. We climbed it in 2 hours returned to the car. A very nice 7 pitch corner route (5.8). Then I left back to the airport to return back to Calgary.

Partial list of completed climbs -

*First ascent