Tsar Mountain Continued (Use the "BACK" button on your browser to go back)
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Evening view from our camp of Shackleton Glacier, northwest of Tsar Mountain. A deep glacially-scoured valley and a river lie in between.
The weather held for our summit day and we followed a rock ridge bordering the glaciated north face.
On "the boardwalk", a wide flat part of the north ridge. Glaciers behind are part of a vast linked glacier system that comprise part of the Clemenceau to Columbia Icefields ski traverse, described in Chic Scott's popular ski touring guidebook, Summits and Icefields. And notice all those other peaks too! This is one of the reasons why I love the Canadian Rockies: So many mountains!
After leaving the ridge, steepening glacier led directly to the small summit. You angle to the far right where the summit ice-cap steepens and go up maybe a ropelength (or less) of 45 degree snow. Gentle undulating snow then leads to the summit. The view towards Mounts Shackleton and Clemenceau was fabulous. Our group found Albert Ostheimer's (with Fuhrer and Weber as guides) still-readable 1927 first ascent record in a small tin tucked under a large rock. Neat, eh? Its now at the Whyte museum archives in Banff.
Just below the summit, on descent. The group waits patiently for the photographer once again.
A brewing thunderstorm made us beetle back down to our camp, but fortunately, it fizzled out. John (lower left) was actually trying to fly. Total round trip time from camp was about 10 hrs.
Next day, rather than bushwhack back out the same way, we returned by following dry glacier around to the east side of Tsar and rappelling the 50 foot cliffband into a gully. Here we are near the rappel point (red circle), which even had 2 pitons in place. Downhill bushwhacking for 2 hours led back to the car. This was a faster exit than retracing our route in, which had done more contouring around lower down in forest. We were very fortunate in having three days of good weather for our trip.
If the Sullivan River logging road in British Columbia remains driveable, (was still okay in August 2000) this is an excellent three day mountaineering trip into a beautiful, remote corner of The Canadian Rockies. And if the road washes out, it is still an excellent trip. You just won't be able to drive there...
Interested? Click here for directions to Tsar.
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© all photos copyright by the author 1999.