The Helmet - Mt Robson area
On July 17 Grant, Roy and I climbed The Helmet via the Berg Glacier and the West Face from a camp at Rearguard Meadows.
We found reasonably strong bridges on this extremely crevassed glacier. Some were quite narrow and it is hard to say how long they will last. We took the route I have used before, starting on the left below Waffl, traversing west on the bench at 2750 m, then heading back SE to 2875 m to get through the crevasse crux.
Deep snow was encountered at 2900 m and it was hard trail breaking all the way to the schrund at 3200 m (mid shin with occasional knee deep plugging). I believe this snow was from the early summer storms and has not had a chance to settle yet.
We avoided the South Ridge route as it would have involved a sideways traverse across steep ice. Instead we climbed directly up the West Face to the summit on 45-60 degree snow and ice in 5 pitches. The 2 pitches of snow on the face was in good condition.
Our main concern was icefall hazard off Helmet on the glacier approach. It was quiet all day despite there being plenty of evidence of previous action there. Starting in mid morning the North Face of Robson started pumping loose wet avalanches to size 2 but these were swallowed up by crevasses between the face and our approach trail.
Other peaks in the area:
- Emperor Ridge looked dry on the rock section.
- Lower Emperor Face looked dryish.
- Robson N Face looked like it could be good if you got cold temps but the schrunds will be difficult. Crossing on the far right would be easiest. This puts you into some small rock bands between the N Face proper and the Emperor Face but avoids the wild ice formations at the top of the regular N Face line.
- Doesn't look like there is a lot of ice on the Fuhrer Ridge.
- Kain face is icing up. Left side may still have snow but it was hard to see from our position, and it looks like there are still some cornices on that side.
- Robson Glacier approach to Resplendent looks to be in excellent shape.
- The ramp glaciers to approach the north side of Whitehorn looked like they could be a bit rugged.
An 11 hour long electrical storm the night of July 17/18 precluded a Resplendent attempt and we bailed on the 18th.