Mt Athelstan - Lillarete

Climbing above and beyond the Chief and Squamish Crags. Check here for trip reports and new routes in the Sea to Sky backcountry
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Drew
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Mt Athelstan - Lillarete

Post by Drew » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:32 am

Climbed this with Jesse M, Doug W and Henrik H on the long weekend. 14 years almost to the day after the FA. Here are some observations you might be interested in if you are thinking about doing this route because you've seen it in Alpine Select.

Thoughts:

New logging roads speed the approach. Under two hours from the car nowadays. Roads are shown well in Google Earth.

The route is (a lot) looser than I remember. Not really "pulling on loose holds that unexpectedly break" Rockies-style looseness, but there are plenty of mobile blocks all over the place. You need to test before you pull, and trundle what you can when seconding. Also you should manage the rope so that rope drag mid-pitch doesn't pop blocks off between you and your belayer. Don't expect Bugaboo quality granite, but it's pretty closely equivalent to other local climbs with scattered blocks, like Overseer W face or Tricouni N Ridge. The rock on some other local peaks like Rexford/Nesakwatch, Ibex, Yak or Old Settler is a lot better than this.

There has been one recent, large rockfall from the simulclimbing pitches between the Gnomon col and Randy Stoltmann Tower. The route still goes - gain the ridge crest left of the left edge of the rockfall scar and cross above it. There is a new cannonhole clear through the ridge now - be careful near this feature.

The grade is the same. Lots of low 5th class with the odd move of 5.8.

Seasonally, this one is a good one to do early (like now) because when you traverse behind the Gnomon, it's best to do it on snow rather than on scree and the traverse loses snow by early August at latest.

We did the ice gully descent rather than the climb out to the rim. The rim exit looked looser (if possible) than I remember from doing Selective Cut and I don't think many people go this way. There are many more fixed stations (slings and pins) in here than the last time I descended this way. You will still want to bring some webbing or cord and a couple knifeblades if doing this descent. Doing the descent in running shoes with jury rigged crampons sucks. It's worthwhile bringing some stiffer boots for this. Don't forget gloves either - getting screaming barfies on a day it hits high 30Cs is nothing to look forward to.

With all the caveats about rock quality and so on, I still think it's a good climb. However, the routes left of the descent gully (Skyler and Nick's route, Standing Wave, Moonraker and Raised by Bears) have better rock, particularly Standing Wave.

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Approach

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Pitch 3 - possible the crus - Henrik is right where you leave the mossy chimney and head hard left to gain the arete

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Climbing en route, top of the diagonal crack around p8

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You want this traverse to be on snow rather than talus.

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The new rockfall between the towers is the white scar. Climb left of this and then pass over/behind it.

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Climbing on the upper tower

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Rappelling from the RST summit

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Descending the ice gullies

looneyhans
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Re: Mt Athelstan - Lillarete

Post by looneyhans » Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:30 am

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lizbee
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Re: Mt Athelstan - Lillarete

Post by lizbee » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:09 am

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