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New Moderate Alpine Chimney on Mount Athabasca

This is the fourth route up the often-over-looked West Buttress

Grant Stewart and Ryan Patteson made the first ascent of the East Chimney, a four-pitch M5 WI3 on the West Buttress of Mount Athabasca on Thanksgiving Weekend 2019.

The route is the fourth climb on the buttress, which is easily accessed from the access road up the Athabasca Glacier. The other three routes are The McKibbon M5 II, The Slawinski/Takeda M6 and The Abdominal Drain.

Stewart described the 300-metre route as “a phenomenal moderate alpine climb with good ice pitches and classic crack/chimney drytooling. Similar to it’s neighbour The Slawinksi/Takeda but with more ice.

East Chimney

Description by Stewart: Route is located on the buttress at the end of the northwest ridge of Athabasca, a few hundred meters climber’s right of the start of the Slawinski-Takeda. Locate an obvious ice smear that marks the start of the first pitch.
P1: 60m, WI3 climb a smear of ice to a small snowfield and belay off screws at the start of the second pitch. Stubbies useful.
P2: 30m, WI4 climb a fat vein of WI4 ice up to a rock anchor in a crack on the left. Continue up a rising rightward traverse on a snowslope for 100m around the rock buttress and up into the couloir until you run into a large, steep rock wall.
P3: 45m, M5 starting from the far righthand side of the rock wall, follow the amazing left-trending crack system up into the chimney. Belay on rock anchor. Some loose rock but good gear. Classic.
P4: 50m, M4 climb up then traverse left to avoid an overhanging chockstone. Continue up on mixed ground until you reach the upper couloir. Belay off rock anchor on the left. Continue to the top of the couloir and the top of The Slawinski/Takeda.
To descend, either rappel The Slawinski/Takeda or traverse right on snow slopes from the top of the couloir until possible to climb a short chimney and traverse left on snow slopes off the buttress down to the N Glacier.

A: The McKibbon / B: The Abdominal Drain / C: The Slawinski/Takeda / D: East Chimney