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[TR] Mt. Service Expedition - Llewelyn Glacier 7/20/2013

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Trip: Mt. Service Expedition - Llewelyn Glacier


Date: 7/20/2013


Trip Report:

Juneau Icefields, BC/Alaskan Border Peaks 100, 101,102 (Mt. London, Mt. Service, Mt. Poletica)


July 20th- August 15th


The Expedition team


The "mastermind" Professor Toby Dittrich



The "veteran" Stacy Allison



The "mystery" John Petrosky



The "photographer" Ryan Irvin



The "author" Chris Benelli



The goal of this trip was to get Toby Dittrich to the top of Mt. Service, named after the famous Yukon author Robert Service. Toby has been on the Juneau Icefield Research Program since the early 70's, and has only missed a few years since. In 2004 he was diagnosed with Leukemia and given only months to live.


Toby had long been a fan of Robert Service's poems and stories, and while going through chemotherapy he read Service's poem "every day a life" every morning. He made it through chemo and his cancer went into remission, so he felt he had to go to this peak-named after the man who got him through his lowest days.


We made it successfully to the summit of Mt. service, as well as Mt. London and Mt. Poletica, and several other unnamed peaks.


Oh Canada



The 1970 Volvo station wagon (already leaking something only 6 hours into the drive...)



Feeling apprehensive about our choice of transportation, deep into British Columbia.



Canadian Dog giving the stink-eye "don't touch my biscuits eh"



We made 2,400 miles and arrived safely in Atlin, B.C.



Stacy, John and Toby flew in to base camp with all the supplies and food. Ryan and I took a boat 80 miles across Lake Atlin and hiked 13 miles up the Llewelyn Glacier to meet them a few days later.







4 miles of bushwackwacking, stream crossing and bear whistling brought us to the glacier.





Travel on the lower part of the glacier.







Fresh Glacier water



We had to spend a couple of days in the tent on Llewelyn nunatack (marble mountain) waiting for the weather to clear so the helicopter could fly.





The weather cleared and we saw the helicopter fly overhead, it was time to move! We made it up to the firn line and roped up, I fell in a crevasse 10 feet later.





Finally see the base camp!







Mt. Service sits right on the crest of the icefield, and is a beacon for the weather. The weather finally cleared, and we set off. It was mostly climbing on loose rock, with 4 pitches of fixed rope across a knife-edge ridge.







Toby read Robert Service poems atop the summit. It was an extremely emotional moment as he had acheived his decade long goal. All were teary eyed.We had a summit box, filled with Robert Service memorabilia, including his drivers license and wallet, and placed it on the summit. John brought along a roman candle...it was almost a dud, but we made it work.





We made it back to camp safe, and enjoyed great amounts of food. There was no going hungry on this trip, we even had water melon!



Bicorn peak, above camp



Goat Hair peak, our ski run on down days.



Mt. Poletica, our second border peak climbed. Ryan had to sit this one out due to bad blisters, Toby stayed in camp after rupturing his Achilles tendon on Goat Hair peak. (unfortunate, but his insurance paid for some extra heli rides that were well appreciated!) Our route went up the ice and snow chute to the summit, then traversed over the top and down the back side.



Mt. London, third border peak, named after Yukon author Jack London.







On the ski down from Mt. London John lost a ski in a crevasse, but was able to fish it out with an ice ax on a rope.





The rest of the trip was spent relaxing at the research project's camp 26. there was good views and good sport climbing.











A helicopter ride out landed us back in Atlin B.C. drinking well deserved beers.






Thanks for reading folks, here is a link to an article about us in the Yukon Times (must have been a slow week in the Yukon) and Plaidman's blog that he kept for us on Oregonlive's website.





Edited by christophbenells

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Such a fantastic TR, thanks!


You can really see the camaraderie in the photos, looks like you guys had a fun trip.


In general, good weather too? I seem to remember that SE AK had quite the summer?

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Now that's the kind of mountain expedition TR I like to read about. Well done.


{who drives a 1970 volvo with a trailer to alaska?}

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Looks like an epic trip! Thanks for sharing. Not too many reports come from the Atlin area, that place is amazing. Hope to get out that way myself someday for some turns/climbs.


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Good choice of beer. Yukon Brewing makes some excellent beverages. However I woulda gone with Lead Dog over Ice Fog

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Sounds like a great trip.


I think that was the second ascent of Mount Service (FA on May 28, 1968, by George Barnett, Russell Batt, William Bendy, Jurgen Meyer-Arendt, Lawrence Nielsen, Dan Reeder, Thomas Stengle, and Charles Warren - see page 382 of the 1969 AAJ), the second ascent of Mount Poletica (FA on May 19, 1968, by George Barnett, Jurgen Meyer-Arendt, Lawrence Nielsen, and Thomas Stengle - see page 382 of the 1969 AAJ), and the third ascent of Mount London (FA in 1990 by Hannes Arch - see http://www.hannesarch.com/about/highlights/1990-big-time-top-of-climbing-career.html - and second ascent in 1999 by John Baldwin, Matthias Jakob, and David Williams - see pages 116 and 117 of the 2000 Canadian Alpine Journal).


Well done!

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