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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
Dru
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Default Waddington (Main Summit)

Fern, Vance and I climbed the highest summit of Waddington via the Bravo Glacier to SE Chimneys route in late July 2018.


07/24 we drove to Bluff Lake.
07/25 we flew into Rainy Knob on the Tiedemann with Whitesaddle Air, set up a basecamp (2100m), and spent the day snoozing, eating, watching rock and ice fall from neighbouring peaks, and reading books. We went to bed early and got up at 11 PM.

Overnight and into 07/26 we navigated up the Bravo Glacier by headlamp, avoiding most of the crevasses. We still had to deal with a few of them, climb some steepish snow, and shovel one overhang until it was more vertical. We made it to Bravo Col (3000 m) a couple hours after sunrise, when the overnight crust started melting. We hung out at the col for four or five hours until all of the breakable crust had melted into slush, then mushed on up to Spearman Col (3200 m ) and camped.
07/27 saw our alarms go off at 1:30 AM and we were away from camp by 3 AM. We negotiated the final glaciated slopes to the summit tower just after dawn.

We gained a series of sloping ledges that cross the lower east face of The Tooth and followed them to the famous Notch between the Tooth and the Main Summit. The notch is even more spectacular that I had anticipated. From here one climbs the SE Chimneys themselves to reach Wadd's summit.
Normally the chimneys are a mix of rock and ice climbing but because of the warm weather they had lots of rock and little ice and much of the rock was loose without ice to hold it in place. We took the warm-weather variation that moves out of the chimneys low down, below the first chockstone, and climbs the rib to the right. This had some pretty stiff moves for the advertised 5.7 grade, especially when climbing in crampons, but nothing that was a real show-stopper. A couple more pitches of easier climbing got us to the top (4019 m) at 2 PM.

There was a horsefly on the summit (not sure if it was just lounging there waiting for us or what?) and a couple American climbers on the nearby NW summit. Views in all directions were restricted by the smoke - couldn't see the ocean at all, for instance.
After spending almost an hour on top, we made seven or eight rappels back down our ascent route. Despite our best efforts the ropes got stuck twice (necessitating time-consuming and scary reclimbs up the jammed line to free it) but fortunately never chopped or damaged. We got over the final bergschrund at sundown, and were back in camp by 11 PM.



The next day (07/28) we slept in and again, ate, drank and lazed away the morning and midday, waiting for the crust to break down. We left Spearman camp at 3 PM, waded through slush down to Bravo Col, and got into the shade with lightly firmer snow. Two rappels down Cauldron Headwall, one over the troublesome serac lower down, and a bunch of downclimbing got us back to Rainy Knob around 8:30, just before we needed to break out the headlamps.


On 07/29 we kibitzed with another party of climbers who had arrived overnight from Plummer Hut for an hour or so until the helicopter came to get us. We were home that night, pretty happy with the way things had worked out.
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martin, dblair, KARVITK and 4 others like this.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 06:40 PM
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Georgeous views! Too bad about the smoke; it's starting to be an annual event.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 06:47 PM
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Nice! You don't read a trip report from there often! Too bad about the visibility, but it looks like you still got some good views.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 07:59 PM
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Congratulations sir, and to your team as well!!!

I don't need google to know what you did is a lot more than the words you wrote. I've had the Waddington guide on my shelf for years, I figured I was buying the dream, don't know if I'll ever make it there myself.

How was the transition from life near sea level going to 4000m? I'm just back from the Bugs and even 3000m was kicking my ass. And how does the climbing compare to anything local?

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2018, 03:32 AM
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Congratulations Due and your team, this being a spectacular and accomplished effort. Photos are epic..

The rock, glaciers, and what looks like soft snow......sure makes for some magnificent scenes.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2018, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Wandering Tree Frog View Post

How was the transition from life near sea level going to 4000m? I'm just back from the Bugs and even 3000m was kicking my ass. And how does the climbing compare to anything local?

Altitude effects were not very noticeable, except Fern got a cough. maybe from all the smoke though.



Hard to compare the climbing to anything local. Solid rock with a coating of granola. Mostly dry but enough snow and wet and loose that you need to keep the crampons on 100% of the pitches. So then you're climbing 4th and mid 5th in crampons. Lots of slotting your front points into lost arrow seams or pockets (fine) or smearing on slabs with them (less fine). I guess it felt the most comparable to me to climbing the NE face of Redoubt with respect to local stuff. The way I did that bitd was also a steep glacier to 8 pitches of crampon/boot rock climbing.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2018, 10:24 PM
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Congrats on reaching the peak, what an awesome accomplishment! Looks pretty amazing up there, great pics, especially the ones of those pillars/spires. Great report too, thanks for posting.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-02-2018, 02:19 PM
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Not another bloody Waddington TR, this website is starting to go to hell. Congrats, has to be a highlight trip for you and bonus points for using the word randkluft on your Facebook post.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 12:52 AM
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Any report with words like "bergschrund" most assuredly means I will never do such a trip, but damn, that's one fine read. The closest I ever came to your achievement was a helicopter flight round Waddintgton in 1995.

Outstanding trip and thanks much for the great report

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