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AMCR - Stanley Peak
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TOPIC: AMCR - Stanley Peak
#356
AMCR - Stanley Peak 4 Years, 5 Months ago  
My understanding was that June is too late to ski and too early to alpine climb. Even though the weather forecast seemed clear enough and temperatures cool enough for an alpine ascent, I thought an attempt of Mount Stanley would likely turn into a gear walk. As it turned out, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. Clear nights allowed a good enough freeze and a nice view of the northern lights, cloud the next morning kept everything cool. The +15 evening weather even made camping pleasant!

Charlie and I attempted Kahl Route (North Face of Mount Stanley) last weekend, and I think it is worth letting everyone know that alpine conditions in June can be excellent, albeit more gear is required. Another benefit of Mount Stanley is that it doesn't experience the crowds of the Columbia Icefields, at least not past the end of the trail.

We did not pack light by any stretch of the imagination. We had all our avi gear, 4 pickets, 6 ice screws, two ropes, crampons, technical tool each, mountaineering ax each, harness and glacier gear, skis, poles and boots, stove and overnight bivy gear, but we had no idea what we would encounter . To be honest, we could have ditched all of the pickets, most of the screws and the technical tools. Even the avi gear was a bit much as a live rescue of a victim avalanched off a 300 m, 50 degree slope would take more than a beacon, probe and shovel.

There was snow from the end of the maintained trail, letting us ski from the bivy all the way to the base of the climb. There was a good enough overnight freeze to result in a supportive crust (at least on skis) all the way to the top. We took the east glacial tongue which was straightforward if a bit steep to skin with ski crampons. Although the west tongue is recommended, it involves a long traverse on steep, rock hard snow over massive cliffs. The north face snow had a breakable, but supportive crust that I would even consider skiing, but the extra time it would have taken to haul skis to the top. The route is infamous for dropping large rocks as soon as the sun comes out, and the first rocks dutifully started to fall at 9:45 as we got back to our skiis. Hauling skis would have put us out of our temperature window.

The glacier is broken up, but well bridged at this time of year with little worry of breaking the top 1 cm of crust, let alone through a bridge. The bergshrund is bridged by about 10+ m of avi debry, and was no worry. Overall, conditions couldn't have been easier.

The trail back is muddy and you will get some funny looks as hikers equiped with sandels and a water bottle ponder your 60 lb packs with skis and ice tools strapped to the back. I hope mountaineering can stay that way just a little longer.

Photos (maybe one day I'll even learn to use the photogallery

Good luck getting out.
Matthew Breakey
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#359
Re:AMCR - Stanley Peak 4 Years, 5 Months ago  
I recently discovered internet movie editing. Upload raw movie clips to the internet, and it spits out the following. Could be useful for the video competition (if Kieth hasn't given up).

www.magisto.com/video/NgQVMUAMCmtoR0ZpYw

The basic version is free, but you will have to pay if you want anything more than a 75 second clip. Seems fair enough, 75 seconds is about my attention span.
Matthew Breakey
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Posts: 82
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