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[TR] Joffre, Matier reverse traverse- Northwest ridge Joffre, South ridge Matier 6/24/2006

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Climb: Joffre, Matier reverse traverse-Northwest ridge Joffre, South ridge Matier


Date of Climb: 6/24/2006


Trip Report:

I hesitated writing this report since the trip was nothing really signifcant difficulty or access wise but I think it can serve as a reminder that this pursuit is inherently dangerous no matter your experience or the perceived conditions on the mountain.


Having climbed many of the peaks in this area myself JM and JH decided to link a few up over the course of three days and two nights to "get into shape for the summer season". I had attempted the northwest ridge of Joffre (from the highway) years past but had been denied when a snow storm blew in and forced us down. With the passage of time I had somehow forgotten the hideous hike to achieve Joffre from this aspect, 1500m elevation gain over 5km to the summit. This sounded reasonable with overnight gear and a rock rack (for the south ridge of Matier) from my couch in Vancouver. The trip started with us arriving in the parking lot at midnight on Thursday expecting an early start the next morning only for one of us (not me) to realize that he had brought one snow bording boot and one climbing boot. This necessitated the said party member to drive back to Vancouver that night sleep four hours and drive back while we camped in the parking lot. A minor speed bump that only set us back about 3 hours the Friday morning.


We achieved our first bivi high on the ridge at 2400m with much sweat tears and the occasional visit from Cpt. Morgan. The next day brought us to the summit early in the day. Climbing was excellent in an outstanding position and short lived difficulties to mid-fifth, no rappels were required on the way up. We decended the Aussi couloir with the most killer bum schuss down the last half. We spent a leisurely afternoon and camped the second night at the Joffre Matier col.


Sunday we rose early and leaving the packs at camp headed for the south side of Matier. The ridge looked outstanding. We were about three to four pitches up enjoying the awsome weather and climbing when disaster struck. Although the rock was loose in places it was by no means unreasonable. At the belay we heard a scream and the rope came tumbling slack as it only does when the leader falls this was followed by a barrage of large rock fall. After some broken communication I seconded up through some steep rock to a ramp with some grassy patches. The ramp ended in a pile of debris. JH was reclined on top of a bulge with legs elevated and tornequed(sp?) off. Blood was flowing down the rock and had filled JH's shoes he was hyper-ventilating and clearly in shock. He explained that he had tested a hold about chest level to overcome the bulge and the whole mess had come off as a 4' by 4' by 2' sheet of rock. He landed on his back and the rock landed on his legs. He did a head over heels and managed to land on a ledge narrowly avoiding a 40' fall and the rest of the falling debris. When I inspected the most significant of the flesh wounds he has lost 4" of skin along the shin clean to the bone - a large hole. We cut off a shirt sleeve tied off the wound and re-inforced with duct tape.


Four tricky rappels ensued, we had one rope. Unfortunately the wounds lay below the boot line and made hiking, specifically decending, very very painful. Upon reaching camp JM got out the first aid kit and went to work cleaning and dressing the wounds for the decent. We took all the gear leaving JH with a light bag. It took 6 hours of slow going down to the Joffre lakes parking lot. Whistler clinic was closed so at midnight on Sunday we pulled into the Squamish emergency. The doctor, a young guy who did some climbing was fantastic and although he initially expressed that this would require plastic surgery, was able with some re-cutting to stitch the gaper up with a dozen stiches. All in all it could have been a lot worse, be carefull out there.




Gear Notes:

rope, small rack, first aid kit and could have used a Rambo knife.


Approach Notes:

Long hard and hot

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Good for you guys for holding it together, and making it out okay. Hope your climbing partner heals real quick.


I know that this surely isn't a priority, but if you get a chance, post some pics (no, not of the wound!) I'm sure you had some beautiful scenery!


Again, good job in making it out okay, and thanks for posting the report. thumbs_up.gif

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