quote:Originally posted by 430Marten
Mount Alberta eh! I am very interested... is this guy on CT?
Not a CT member. Leads 5.11+ trad, so the 5.6-5.7 Japanese Route on Alberta wasn't technically difficult for him, but he was quite disgusted at the low quality of the route overall. Speaking to people doing Alberta in the last couple years, it sounds like it's a bit easier thanks to being drier, but the rock quality is falling fast. (get it?)
I used the term scramble a little tongue-in-cheek, as it's actually called "soloing" as it is most definitely fifth class rock.
As for Mt. Athabasca, I think right now the two finest routes on the peak are the Silverhorn and the Hourglass. The Silverhorn presents steeper now (last year I figured 40 degrees for quite a bit, a couple short stretches of 45, but steeper than the 30-35 it was years ago) and turns to ice much more quickly during the summer. We pitched it out, and it was slow, but on a bluebird day, it's a great place to "hang out" climbing alpine ice.
The Hourglass has not been done by me, but I've looked at it from some angles, and it looks great. There is one moderate-angle rock bit that shows thorugh later in the year now, but looks simple. The crux ice pitch used to be very close to vertical, but from where I've peered down it before, it looks like melting has actually reduced the angle (unlike many ice routes!) and a friend of mine that has twice completed it thinks the ice crux has backed off from WI3+ to WI2/3. The lead is not difficult, it's just being above a screw with that many meters of air under your boots that is mentally challenging. Well, for me anyway!
The North Face is better for the hardasses out there. The rock step is much tougher thanks to melting and with several reliable people I know rating it 5.8-ish, it's out of my league now. 5.8 alpine rock is way above my pay grade unless I'm with a light pack and rock shoes AND following! The pro is non-existent and the fixed pin is now quite a ways above the ice, meaning a missed clip will result in a serious injury fall.
The Hyperspace Bypass is supposed to be interesting, but I haven't been on that side of the peak. We began the NE ridge some years back, and backed off in disgust. It was easily the most rotten rock I've been on, and the moves were not fun at all. The Hyperspace Bypass goes up the ice of the NF, but veers climber's left, avoiding that shit of the NE ridge. The final few pitches of the NE ridge are supposed to be a terrific 5.6 Scottish Gully, but I haven't been anywhere near it, so I can't tell you first hand. I'm not keen to onsight it, so I'll wait to go up with someone either more talented than me, or that has done it before.