MAST – Mountaineering

26 September

Together with my fellow friends from the MAST program, Luc, Tucker, Eric, Justin and Ryan, I went on my first real Mountaineering trip. We went to Catamount / North Star Glacier, BC – Canada.

Today (26 th ) it rained and we decided to stay low in the woods to avoid setting up our tents in the rain and heavy wind expected up on the mountain by the glacier’s base. After having lunch we set up camp and decided to scout the trail for tomorrow we headed of up the mountain with lighter packs. The steep way up was covered partly with scree and we got small flashbacks to the Mt Fisher trip two weeks earlier. After little more than an hour hiking we reached finally the top of the morane and the base of the majestic glacier! It was SO large we all stood there eager to get our crampons on to test them and see how they are to walk on. Brian held the leaches short and said we had to wait until tomorrow before we got up on the glacier. A bit dissapointed we turned back to our camp after finding a better camp spot beside the glacier which we will advance to tomorrow before the first day of glacier skills were taught.

The travel time for the day were estimated to 4 hours and we gained 2100ft just to loose 1800ft before reaching camp again.

27 September

During the night 10-20cm of new snow had covered the summits of the surrounding peaks. On our advancement to our new campsite we went into the snow line around 7000ft and we felt the cold air rushing down from the summits of the surrounding area of Catamount Glacier. After traversing a narly passage where we were belayed by Brian and Steve (our Guides) incase we fell down this thin ledge we sat up camp and got ourself ready for our first day on the glacier. No people fell on the ledge and we all made it through to our nice camp site. (See pictures in Gallery!)

Around noon we sat of for new adventures dressed up in crampons, helmets and mountaineering iceaxes. We had heaps of fun exploring this new environment and learing how to walk again. We tried walking uphill, downhill and very steep bits so we could figure out what teeth we should use in the different degrees of slope.

28 September

Our third day on our expedition was our big, swop camp day. The second group was camped in the connecting North Star Glacier’s north end while we were camped at the Catamount Glacier’s north end. Between the camp it was about 3.5km the birdway. We, however, we went south in a big loop forming a huge horseshoe with a total distance covered around 6km with an elevation gain of 2000ft which we lost on the later part of the way to Camp 3.

On the saddle between The Scotch Peaks and the ridge reaching out from Gwendoline Mountain we practiced self arrest, i.e. throwing ourselfs down the steep slope and arrest ourselves with our iceaxes. This exercice was lots of fun and we span around and threw ourselves on our backs head first so we needed to twist around first before we could dig the axe into the snow.

29 September

Day four on our mountaineering expedition we decided to do crevasse rescue until noon and then we had a choice of were we wanted to go. We went for the most dominant peak around (also with the coolest name!) Mount Alpha Centauri we went 2/3rds up but had to turn around on the saddle due to time restraints (you don’t want to be trapped on the glacier during dark incase you fall into a crevasse and need to perform a crevasse rescue). However, I took some SUPER cool pictures that are collected in the Gallery.

Everyone had the worlds largest smile on their faces on that saddle! Unforgetable!

30 September

Pack up and hike out to vans, we had to cross some cool creeks and bush bash trough some really cool wilderness areas and 2/3rds there we meet up with the other group and hiked together with them out to the vans.

Five days on the glacier, another five unforgettable days!

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