Canadian Ian Welsted and Scottish climber Simon Richardson recently made the first ascent of a big route on Mount Waddington via the Epaulette Ridge. The two top alpinists spent five days en route in deep snow navigating a number of complicated sections of the peak.

“It’s a beautiful, classic line that I had my eyes on for a long time, but I never got there before retiring,” said the legendary Don Serl.

In Welsted’s blog, he wrote, “Unprotected snow climbing is my least favourite kind. As we traversed through the top-out of Eamonn Walsh’s Uber-Groove, we encountered just that. Surfing the very top of the snow ridge for a rope length, Simon belayed off a snow bollard using a somewhat old-school belay technique, telling me, ‘If you fall, fall to the left.’ As I was pirouetting on the cornice in an effort to au-cheval, I had to somewhat briskly ask which left. With no snow stakes present, we opted for a very powdery traverse of a 50 degree face. ‘It reminds me of the Cowboy Traverse on the Cassin. We just agreed that we would go as far as seemed reasonable before an avalanche would really cause you problems.’ With four screws total the math wasn’t in our favour.” Read the full story here.

Welsted and Richardson had recently made the first ascent of the North Spur of Mount Phillips in the Canadian Rockies before heading to the coast.

In the photo below, they climbed the obvious slanting snow ramp just below the northwest ridge crest, slanting up from lower left in this photo. They gained the Epaulette Glacier (centre with the Angel Glacier behind) and then had some difficult corniced ridge pitches beyond that.

They then topped the False summit (centre), Northwest summit (snowy summit at left) and main summit (right rear). “They then made a challenging descent of the Bravo Glacier to Rainy Knob,” said Serl.

Epaulette Ridge on Waddington Photo John Scurlock

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