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Jasper Climber Fastest Up Canadian Rockies 11,000ers

Tsar Mountain Photo John Scurlock

Ben Nearingburg is the newest member of the Canadian Rockies 11,000ers club at only 30 years old.

The club includes the 54 peaks in the Rockies higher than 11,000 feet (3,353 metres) and it took the Jasper local only five years to accomplish the goal.

The final peak he climbed was the remote Tsar Mountain west of the Columbia Icefields.

In 2017, Nearinburg’s book A Peakbagger’s Guide to the Canadian Rockies, co-authored with Eric Coulthard, hit the shelves.

Nearingburg kept a log of his ascents with trip reports on his website beenthereclimbingthat.com, some excerpts below.

Back in Jasper after a self propelled hike, climb, and packraft traverse from the Icefields Parkway to the shores of the Sullivan Arm of the Kinbasket Reservoir ascending Tsar Mountain. Over 11 days @harrapliam and I had highs and lows, sun and showers, triumph and disappointment, whiteouts and whitewater, and woefully heavy packs. It will take a while to process pictures but here are a few from the gopro for now. The Sullivan and Kinbasket River Valleys are beautiful yet frightening places, with lots of challenge and unexpected surprises. I couldn't have asked for a better trip partner in Liam or a better objective to finish off the 11000ers self-propelled. More to come later, time for a few brews and to catch up on sleep.

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Tsar Mountain

“The summit of Tsar Mountain is guarded by three snow and ice rollovers.  While the fresh snow had given us concerns on the rock lower down on the peak, here it actually became helpful.  At the base of the first roll I had to catch my breath before starting to kick steps, things were getting tiring.  The snow was anywhere from 30 to 60 degrees steep (with the steeper stuff only on the immediate top of the rolls) and waist deep.  On the last two rolls topping out required kicking into a mix of ice with rubble, not the greatest for trusting your foot placement, and each of us only had one ice tool.  After the last roll the whiteout was in full force. ”

Mushroom

“Steven cautiously led and picked a path through the crevasses which put us right at the base of Mushroom’s broad scree-laden face. At this point it was just a scree slog to go, so we dropped a lot of gear and started up. There are lots of loose rocks on Mushroom so taking parallel lines in pretty key. I opted for pretty much a straight-line up the face while Steven and Vern angled towards the ridge on the climbers left. A slog later, we all regrouped on the summit taking in our third summit view of the day as the sun slowly started to slip closer to the horizon.”

Mount Bryce

“Below the rock section the shooting gallery began with the next 3 hours of a frantic descent dodging baseball to basketball sized block of ice rocketing down the slope.  Both Steven and I were hit by many small blocks and a few glancing hits from large bricks.  Nothing like an ice brick to the arm to speed up your down climbing….  Suffice to say we made it back down to our bivy safe and sound but slightly shaken up.”