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Lauchlan Award 2017: New Homathko Routes Climbed

The following report by Max Fisher is about his and Fred Giroux’s spring alpine trip to the Homathko Icefield, supported by the John Lauchlan Award.

On May 17, Fred and I got on a water taxi and headed up the Bute Inlet and for four-and-a-half days walked, skied and stumbled up onto the Homathko Icefield to climb Peak 9332.

We got to base camp in time to set up and chill before a two-day storm rolled in. After the storm things cleared up and it was time to go play.

On May 25, we made the first ascent of Mount Grenville’s beautiful northwest face. We climbed through iced-up runnels and over solid granite to sugary snow near the top. We called our route 350-metre route Melquiades M4+ AI4.

The next day we were up early descending from base camp to the base of Peak 9332’s northeast face. We climbed a beautiful line of weakness straight up the face for 600 metres to the summit that we called it Remedios the Beauty, a 300-metre AI3.

Since we had our skiing stuff, we thought, “Why not go skiing.” So we went back to Grenville with the intention of skiing a steep line on its west face.

After boot packing to the summit ridge and waiting for things to soften up, we opted out of the west face and skied the north face.

A nice 45-degree slope for 300 metres easing off farther down and sliding us right back to camp.

On the 28th, we decided to start making our way out and cruised to the toe of Bute Glacier. We took a long look at the north side of Bute and decided with the warm temps and significant avalanches we were seeing we would have to come back for that. So we decided to go for a scramble up Galleon Peak.

On May 29, we started wandering our way up wet mossy cracks with our ice axes and rock shoes to get to some solid dry rock. We climbed one roped pitch on the lower tier that was about 5.8/5.9 to a large snow ledge.

Then we headed up through the snow to the next tier of beauty stone and climbed two excellent 30-metre pitches to another snow slope. We slogged up the snow and climbed a 40-metre 5.9 pitch to the summit.

We knew there was weather coming and the likelihood of us climbing anything else was low so on May 30, we skied and walked down to Homathko Camp.

We had an amazing time hanging out with Chuck and Sheron, the owners of Homathko Camp. Thanks so much for your hospitality and thanks so much to the John Lauchlan Memorial Award Committee for choosing us.

And to all the sponsors that make this award possible: MEC, Arc’teryx, Yamnuska, The Alpine Club of Canada, Calgary Foundation, Lake O’Hara Lodge, Explore Magazine, RAB Equipment, Tony and Gillean Daffern, Don Milliken and Bill Hanlon.

We’d like to thank Coast Mountain Expeditions for the boat ride in and Shayne Vollmers and Carrie Smith of the boat ride out.

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