Mt. Queen Bess, Coast Mountains
I guided an ascent of Mount Queen Bess (3300m) via a variant of the Munday Route (IV 5.5) August 6 & 7, 2019. Queen Bess is part of the Reliance Group in the Coast Mountains just North of the Homathko Icefield. We accessed the area with White Saddle helicopter out of Bluff Lake, BC. The weather in this area for the last week consisted of a strong ridge of high pressure with light Southwesterly winds and overnight freezing levels around 3000m.
The Munday Route was in good shape and provided quick access to the summit. The upper Mantle Glacier leading to the base of the Munday Couloir on the West face was straightforward and mostly snow covered. Progress was slow with much post-holing on this section due to minimal overnight freeze. The right hand side of the couloir provided about 200m of good mix snow, ice & rock climbing up to 45 degrees. We opted for the right-hand variation with one 60m pitch of 5.5 climbing on descent granite near the top of the Munday Couloir. This lead nicely into the upper north ridge where snow travel was firm.
All in all, a very beautiful area with much more to explore. Looking around at the Northern reaches of the Homathko Icefield, we noticed the firn line to be around 2200m. Glaciers reaching below this elevation were free of snow.
Have a great summer!
acmg mountain guide