Jason Ammerlaan, Nathan MacDonald and Luke Neufeld have returned from B.C.’s remote Mount Bute after having freed the School of Rock.

Ammerlaan, MacDonald and Neufeld spent two days on the 1,900-metre route climbing and a third day descending. “We were feeling lucky to spend some time in a remote place that truly had a ‘wilderness’ feel to it,” said Ammerlaan.

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Looking up to the summit of Mount Bute during the mid-June first free ascent of School of Rock, 50 pitches 5.12. Photo Jason Ammerlaan

They hiked in from the Pacific Ocean over a few days of rugged bushwacking and made their way into the mountain. “I feel that we executed this trip in good style,” said Ammerlaan.

“We left no garbage, little trace of our footsteps through the valley and we did it without any sponsorship. We didn’t use helicopters, never aid climbed and didn’t use any bolts.”

Nathan MacDonald during the two-day free ascent of School of Rock on Mount Bute.  Photo Jason Ammerlaan
Luke during the two-day free ascent of School of Rock on Mount Bute. Photo Jason Ammerlaan

They found only overgrown trails in some places and minimal fixed fear on the descent from the summit of Mount Bute.

It was a soulful experience, and one that I can only hope to repeat again in the future,” said Ammerlaan.

Luke Neufeld on the mid-June first free ascent of School of Rock on Mount Bute.  Photo Jason Ammerlaan
Nathan on the mid-June first free ascent of School of Rock on Mount Bute. Photo Jason Ammerlaan

Mount Bute is at the heart of Bute Inlet on the central coast of B.C. When you arrive at the mouth of the Homathko River and look up at the peak, you get this awe of inspiration with the surroundings and the remoteness of where you are and the adventure that lies ahead.

School of Rock was first climbed in 2009 by Jimmy Martinello, Bruce Kay and Jason Sinnes as a 50-pitch 5.11 A1. Ammerlaan, MacDonald and Neufeld free climbed the 50 pitches up to 5.12. Read about the first ascent here.

Ammerlaan, MacDonald and Neufeld had no pitch-by-pitch description and potentially climbed a number of variation pitches. But, that’s how must big alpine climbs go, no topo and follow your nose.

Looking up at the summit of Mount Bute, which is nearly 2,000 metres from the base of the mountain. Photo Jasaon Ammerlaan
Looking up at the summit of Mount Bute, which is nearly 2,000 metres from the base of the mountain. Photo Jasaon Ammerlaan

In 2013,  Blake Herrington and Madaleine Sorkin free-climbed the original route up the 700-metre West Face of Mount Bute, which was first climbed in 1986 Greg Foweraker and Don Serl at 5.10 A2 and had only been repeated a few times. Read about their ascent here.

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