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Joe_Poulton

Mount Robson, North Face

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My Dad climbed the Kain route back in the 70's, but I was wondering if anyone has recent info on glacier retreat/advance and possible changes in terrain since the 70's, I plan on climbing the North Face either this July or next Summer. Also, does anyone know if the Stump/Logan route on the Emperor Face has been repeated?

Thanks

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Trip reports on Robson North face are pretty easy to find online aren't they? Try typing "Mount Robson North Face" into a search engine?

You can check the Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia too, they have some nice (recent) pictures.

Condition wise expect 2000' of 50 degree snow and some fun cornices on the summit ridge.

Only sissies and rich kids fly in.

As for the Emperor Face, Stump/Logan and Cheesemond/Dick are both unrepeated. Blanchard/House/JoJo got to a few pitches below summit ridge, then bailed, twice (at least) including once in winter I think. OOOOOH cold! See the film "Beyond Gravity" for more beta on their last attempt.

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Many people take the helicopter to the base- not that I advocate that or anything. I have heard, however, stories in which people found the glacier approach above Berg Lake to be very broken and extremely difficult routefinding. I also know someone who tried to reach the north face by approaching the Kain Face, and then crossing over the Helmet/Robson col, but said it was really bad- a cornice or something blocked the col and the glacier also was bad. But I imagine things change from year to year.

Stump/Logan by the way has been attempted numerous times since it was first climbed, including several attempts I believe by Blanchard/House et.al. Until someone proves otherwise, this route seems pretty sick.

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I drove all the way up in early august last year just to stay in the parking lot. They happened to have a very late spring and things where sliding aplenty. Compounding this problem was the info that there had been a couple of low snow years that have apparently opened up quite a few crevasses severely impeding the approach from berg lake. With this info Kain face might have been an only slightly better route (for conditions). Consider that the Rockies have had yet another low snow year so far and it seems like this might be another year for rock routes, or off season early/late attempts. I still want to do it but I HIGHLY suggest getting current info. The rangers were okay espcially if you can talk to someone who has been on the mtn recently. Another good source (better in fact when we were there) was gravity gear in Jasper.

Good Luck.

 

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Not to date myself or anything, but I tried the N face in '85. At the time we scrambled for about 3,000' alongside the Berg glacier and then headed up the middle. It looked worse from across the lake.

My advice is: Get some good current info on the glacier and avoid long periods of hot weather. When we were up there the face would start avalanching the second the sun hit it.

One other bit of advice don't underestimate a rating of 5.9 A2 in the rockies. The routs are a lot harder than anything at Index.

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I went to look at the North Face last year in Late July. AT the time, neither the North nor the Kain had been climbed. We bailed on the North and decided to do the Kain instead. The route to the Kain went fairly well. Ascending the Robson Glacier was straight forward to extinguisher rock and beyond. We made our way up to the Robson Resplendant col and camped there. [Aside: We were then hammered by the most amazing thunderstorm I've ever witnessed. Huddled in my bivy bag expecting to die any moment, but slept easily realizing that I would either make it or would not.]

The route to the Kain face would have required a traverse of the ridge between the RR col and the dome. Pretty straight forward.

My understanding is that a common error is to not do this traverse and attempt to ascend or descend the Robson Glacier from the dome... bad idea. significant objective hazard - ice fall etc..

Looking forward to going back soon, now that I have nearly circum-navigated the mountain and know what mistakes to avoid.

PS: as Dru states, there is a GOOD on-line conditions report for the Canadian Rockies, Robson Specific... I used it a lot last year, just don't recall what it is just now.

GS.

 

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