Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada.
Interest: Diving, backpacking, polar bear swimming, boating, wine making, amateur radio (the rest doesn\'t get enough time to stay in the list)
I thought the other option suggested was to go around the secars\avalanche debris to lower the exposure to possible new falls. I was saying that each route had its own pros and cons.
Here is the summary of the options:
Going further down from the ice fall - more crevasses, *untested* snow, risk of being hit by small (snow) debris is lower, risk of being reached by huge ice blocks is the same, no trail to follow, longer route
Going somewhat closer to the ice fall – less crevasses, there is a broken, although old trail, better confidence in the slope and bridges (they survived the huge blocks fall), risk from small debris is higher, risk from big chunks is the same, optimal route distance
Going right under the ice wall – no crevasses to worry about, no trail, whatever chips and comes from the above is guaranteed to be yours.
Out of these three the second route seemed to be the least hazardous although still very unsafe, especially in the heat of the day.
Sounds similar to what you, Sandy describe about the Columbia Icefields.