Rockies - Mt atha
Hi MCR Subscribers,
I guided an ascent of the Silverhorn today for OnTop Mountaineering.
It was 1C in the parking at 0600 and snowing. By the time we reached the glacier we were above the clouds. What a spectacular day!
We crossed the bergschrund at the far right side. Instead of traversing around to the left to the classic east ridge of the ‘horn, it made more sense with the schrund crossing to belay directly above. We climbed 3 pitches to the right of the rock outcrop on the north face to gain the traditional line. This line provided 600m of climbing to reach the low angle terrain below the ‘horn’s summit. We descended the N Ramp.
There is 5cm of new snow on the lower glacier. Below the Silverhorn there is up to 50cm of new snow.
On our route we experienced everything from bare ice to plaster to 50cm of powder. The new and old snow (from last week’s storm) is bonding reasonable well and was resistant in field tests. There were about 2cm of facets forming in places under the old snow. For the most part our tools and crampons were in ice and we used ice screw stations throughout.
On the N Ramp snow depths varied from 20cm to 1m where it has blown in off the plateau. Most of the traverse was about 50cm deep and it was possible to penetrate down to the ice with good footsteps. The Silverhorn’s north aspect shed new snow expect yesterday in a loose dry avalanche cycle to size 1.5. This did not trigger any instabilities on the ramp.
The big crevasses on route to all north face routes still require diligent probing and route selection to avoid punching through. We were very well spaced out on our rope team of two and the probe was out to the bergschrund.
As we stepped off the glacier at 1410h the snow was still dry.