Sir Sandford, Northern Selkirks
I guided an ascent of Mount Sir Sandford via the Northwest Ridge August 3-5, 2019. We had a mixture of clear mornings and overcast afternoons with temperatures ranging between -1C and 15C.
We accessed the area from Golden with Alpine Helicopter. Our base camp was located at 2400m on a rock knoll above the Sir Sandford Glacier just West on the Ravelin-Sir Sandford Col. This site is a well used camping area with ample drinking water. From our basecamp, we climbed the regular Northwest ridge to the summit via the hourglass, Northwest glacier and upper West ridge. We did one bivouac at 3000m (good bivi spots) just before the hourglass traverse.
Overall conditions were excellent. With the exception of a few snow patches on the access to the Ravelin-Sir Sandford Col, the lower Northwest ridge was free of snow and in good shape. The hourglass provided good firm early morning snow and easily accessible alpine ice with minimal digging for protection. The upper Northwest glacier had a 150m bare ice section in the 40deg range starting at about 3120m. Thin firm snow coverage followed right up to the West ridge at 3380m. The increasingly narrowing West ridge provided variable post-holing with manageable cornices to the summit. The hourglass rappel bypass was used and is in good shape with many good rappel slings suitable for a single 50m rope.
All in all, good conditions on this Selkirk test piece despite an unsettled start to the alpine season.
acmg mountain guide