Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber


      Thanks for visiting Cascadeclimbers.com.   Yep, we are still going!    Just put a new coat of paint on the site. Still the same old community of climbers, skiers, and people who love to get outdoors. Hope you had a great 2021, and wish you the best for 2022 and beyond.  Thanks again for stopping by.
Sign in to follow this  

[TR] Mt. Waddington - Bravo Glacier 7/28/1960

Recommended Posts

Trip: Mt. Waddington - Bravo Glacier


Date: 7/28/1960


Trip Report:

I am posting a trip report published in the CAJ in 1961. I am doing it with the verbal approval of the author Frank Fickeisen. Obviously this report won't help anybody with an upcoming trip, but it is interesting local history.


Kurt Fickeisen Aug 27, 2007




Seattle Mountaineers In The

Mt. Waddington Area


Frank Fickeisen



The names in this area had puzzled the writer for some years. The following information was supplied by W. R. Young of the Geographic Division of the Department of Lands and Forests, and has been augmented where indicated by asterisks:



The Inlet was discovered and explored by Galiano and Valdez in 1792 and while there they found an Indian table. Consequently it was named, "Canal de la Tabla". The spelling of Toba was the result of a chartmaker's error.



Named after the birthplace of Sir William Gilbert.



Named after Sir.William Gilbert, half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, and the father of English colonization, who took possession of Newfoundland in 1583.



Named after the vessel of which Sir William Gilbert was captain jointly with Sir Walter Raleigh.



After the Lillooet tribe of Indians. The name means "Wild Onion", or Alinm Cernuum.



Named (1960) as it was above the Bishop Glacier and Bishop River. A gendarme on this ridge was known to us as the "Pope's Nose".




Early in 1960 The Seattle Mountaineers decided to have a climbers outing in the Mt. Waddinton area of the Coast Range of British Columbia. To suit the interest of the participants, two climbing groups were formed. The first group planned to see as much of the area as possible. The second group planned to climb Mt. Waddinton.


An advance party of four flew from Campbell River to Ghost Lake on July 28. Two members of this party, James Kurtz and Roger Jackson, went to Rainy Knob near the head of the Tiedemann Glacier. The other two, Mike Kennedy and Mike Boyko, made a camp at Nabob Pass. The party of Kurtz and Jackson arrived at Rainy Knob on Friday afternoon July 29. They were greeted by a group of four Canadian climbers, John Owen, Elfricla Pigou, Joan Stirling and Derrick Boddy. The Canadians prepared tea, and there was considerable discussion of the route up the Bravo Glacier. Later that day the Canadian party moved their camp to the top of Rainy Knob.


On Saturday the other thirteen members of The Mountaineers outing were flown to Ghost Lake, and air drops were made at Nabob Pass and Rainy Knob. Several times during the day Kurtz and Jackson saw the Canadians relaying loads up the Bravo Glacier.


By Sunday evening the two groups were assembled, the first group at Nabob Pass, and the Mt. Waddington group at Rainy Knob.


Monday morning the Waddington party proceeded up the Bravo Glacier, following the tracks of the Canadians. The snow was quite soft. At the 8,000 foot level a crevasse crossing used by the Owen party had disappeared. The glacier was traversed to the right until a new crossing was found and then traversed back to the left to rejoin the tracks.


The tracks continued left across the glacier and disappeared in a flat area covered with ice debris. The debris came from a collapsed ice cliff immediately above and covered the whole area down to a crevasse system below. A sleeping bag cover was observed on the lower edge of one of these crevasses. The cover could not be reached and there were no other signs of the disaster. Crossing the debris area was accomplished as rapidly as possible since the stability of the ice wall above was still unknown. Beyond the debris area there was a multiple set of tracks that led both out of and back in to the debris area. These tracks terminated at the base of the rock ridge on the left side of the Bravo Glacier.


Scaling this ridge took a great deal of care since the large packs made good balance a problem. The crest of the ridge was reached at sundown, and small but comfortable camp sites were located. The following morning the ridge was followed to the snow just below Bravo Col. The snow was soft and there were no signs that a party had been there earlier. The only reasonable conclusion was that the Canadian party was buried in the debris area below.


Camp was made at the Bravo Col by noon. The following morning the party proceeded to the base of the summit rock. The tents had been left at Bravo Col and while Neal Jacques and Arnold Bloomer established the route on the lower part of the rock, the remainder of the group dug two snow caves.


The following morning was clear and wind free. Kurtz and Bloomer were feeling below par and so decided not to try the rock. The notch at the base of the key chimney system was reached with ease. Bob Latz made the lead around the first chockstone and the remainder of the chimney went rapidly. At the top of the chimney system a left traverse led to a steep gully. The gully was topped by several icy gargoyles which could not be circunlvented. After returning to the base of this gully a ledge system that angled right above the previously mentioned chimney system was found and followed. This led to another gully that went directly to the summit. The summit provides a view in every direction: the Snow Peak of Waddington, the Tiedemann-Asperity group, the Tellot and Tiedemann Glaciers, Mt. Munday, Ice Valley, the Franklin Glacier, and the peaks of the Mt. Geddes-Mt. Roovers area.


The descent of the summit rock was facilitated by three long rappels. We returned to Bravo Col on Friday August 5th with Jacques and Cal Magnusson, taking a side trip to climb Mt. Spearman. On the Saturday trip down the Bravo Glacier the ice debris area was inspected after observing that no further activity of the ice cliff above the area had occurred. The inspection led to the discovery of a water bottle and a piece of tent pole. Lower on the glacier several snow bridges which were previously used were gone and the problem of getting Mike Boyko back from a crevasse was considerable.


The following week was used for a trip to Whymper's Dome; and for climbs of the Upper Claw Peak, Mt. "S" and Tellot Spire from a camp on the Tellot Glacier.


Meanwhile the other party of the outing had a fine tour of the whole area. This group led by Keith Gunnar, had eight other climbers; Mike Rees, Marilyn Loranger, Barbara Bigley, Gene Dodson, Dave Nicholson, Mike Kennedy, Sharon Fairley and Vern Edlin. This group first operated from Nabob Pass, making climbs of the lower Claw Peak and Mt. Jeffry. They then moved camp to Photo Point on the Tellot Glacier. From this camp the Upper Claw Peak and Tellot Spire were climbed, and an attempt was made on Serra 111.


The camp was moved back to Nabob Pass from where a climb of Mt. Williams was made. Also from this camp a three day attempt on Mt. Marcus Smith was nearly successful. To supplement this climbing activity this group located nearly every good viewpoint and comfortable camp site in the area.


The whole party returned to Ghost Lake on August 12 and to Campbell River on August 13. The trip had shown its all of the beauty and all of the impersonal forces that mingle so freely in the mountains.


Edited by Feck

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ghost Lake




Merlon Mountain




Frank Fickeisen




Cal Magnusson and Arnold Bloomer




Bob Latz belaying up high




Looking down from the summit




Mt Combatant and Tiedemann




Looking down the Tiedemann glacier





There are a few more pictures in the gallery.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Many of the folks listed in this TR are living either in and around Seattle or in the western US. They are all doing well.

Edited by Feck

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, did the entire Canadian party die in the debris???? I'm surprised such a potential disaster gets so little discussion in the story . . .Maybe I'm reading things wrong?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks jefffski for posting those links.


My father and his party did everything they could on the site to figure out what happened to the 4 Canadians and they filed reports with the RCMP on their return to Vancouver Island. In those days radios were rare, so they did everything that they could.


It's a sad part of the story, but those 4 are best memorialized by the people who knew them best.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great piece of History. That Bravo Glacier is a nasty spot. I recall that it was definitely the scariest part of the climb when I did it. The Bravo headwall comes in close second though. When we descended it we started a bunch of avalanches with boulders to clear about 2 feet of slushy snow from the ice and then chopped bollards down the alley of ice that we created.


Thanks for sharing.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for posting that report.


It was an interesting read especially since it included 2 former Bremertonions, Arnold Bloomer and Neal Jacques who were involved with the Olympic College Climbing Course when I took it in the 50's and also I believe were in the High Climbers Club at Bremerton High School.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
i have been on the bravo glacier and the area is very dangerous. sad story:







The second link makes clear that the party of four was camped where the avalanche occurred. Perhaps poor visibity might have prevented them from seeing the ice cliff above them.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this