Slesse Mountain is one of British Columbia’s must-climb peaks and still has a number of daring unclimbed lines.

Perry Beckham, Greg Child and Joe Buszowski attempted the route in the early 1980s and dubbed the couloir between the Northeast Ridge and North Rib, the Heart of Darkness.

On March 8, Colin Haley and Dylan Johnson made the first ascent of the famous unclimbed feature. Haley recently returned from Patagonia after his most successful year to date.

Colin Haley wrote about his trip on Facebook. “This much discussed objective had been attempted by some very experienced and talented local alpinists over the years: Roger Strong, Jeremy Frimer, John Millar, and especially Guy Edwards,” wrote Haley. “Why were we able to finally succeed? Simple – very fortuitous timing, and therefore absolutely excellent conditions. The crux section had on previous attempts turned people back because of very poorly protected, insecure, difficult mixed climbing.”

Dylan Johnson leading up the Heart of Darkness.  Photo Colin Haley
Dylan Johnson leading up the Heart of Darkness. Photo Colin Haley

Haley continuous on about the crux pitches of the route, “Although there were a few exciting moves, the same section yesterday was, for the most part, downright enjoyable. We reached the summit via the upper North Rib, roughly nine hours after crossing the bergschrund.”

Colin Haley’s Facebook Page

Many big alpine objectives in Canada have been climbed by Americans, something some Canadians disapprove of. Haley addresses any potential conversations about this, “Before I hear any complaints about Americans ‘stealing’ Canadian objectives, keep these three things in mind,” wrote Haley. “No one chooses their place of birth, and it’s not my fault I was born on the wrong side of the border, All the best mountains are in Canada and Alaska, so you can’t blame us for coming and I’ve already submitted my residency application, so cut me some slack, eh?”

The first ascent of Slesse was in 1927 from the Southwest by Stan Henderson, Mills Winram, and Fred Parkes. The first winter ascent was in 1955 by Fips Broda and John Dudra up the Southwest Route. Then in August 1963, Fred Beckey, Steve Marts and Eric Bjornstadt made the first ascent of the classic Northeast Buttress.

Mount Slesse's north side. The Heart of Darkness is the obvious dark couloir rising left to right. Photo John Scurlock  For more photos of Slesse, visit here.
Mount Slesse’s north side. The Heart of Darkness is the obvious dark couloir rising left to right. Photo John Scurlock For more photos of Slesse, visit here.

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