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Rethel North Face Buttresses and Couloirs # 4964

Below is a description of the photograph you were looking for, and the circumstances surrounding the photo.
Date: 2003.11.08
Vantage Point: From Air

Caption: Wedge on left with part of Parkhurst below it, Rethel in middle, Spearhead/Fitzsimmons peaks in background.

PhotoDescr: Lots of routes here with messy histories!

Wedge: Flavelle/Mitten NW couloir is at left, with the possibly unclimbed but unattractive NW arete to its right. The ice choked slot right of the arete was climbed most recently by Don Serl, Robert Nugent, and Janez Ales on the very day this photo was taken (they were on the summit at that moment) "45d-50d superb crisp neve with short sections of ice to 65d. 1100 ft in the couloir, which ends on a promontory ridge. 200m exposed snow traverse right allows exit via top 500ft of W couloir," said Serl on West face slopes of Wedge are also visible, an excellent ski run.

Parkhurst, below Wedge: the main couloir has an unknown FA and has certainly been skiied and boarded. It was climbed, with a finish up the lefthand branch (not visible), the day after this photo was taken by Mssrs. Serl, Nugent, and Ales. "45d-50d sweet alpine whiteness, with several body-length steeper steps. 1200 ft from gear-up on rocks below apron, 900 ft from schrund," said Serl.

Rethel: again, the couloirs have an uncertain first ascent history. Most recently, a BCMC contingent led by Todd Ponzini climbed the main, "lakeside couloir" straight up in August 2003, and it was also done by Serl and Ade Miller in November of last year: "easier than it looks: crisp 45d neve and ice with a 5m brittle 65d ice exit".

Now, the main buttress on Rethel, which I am convinced is a large and worthwhile climb (hopefully this year will confirm it), was first done in 1972 by P. Rowat, R. Barley, J. Oswald, and E. Zenger. "5.5" [sic] and termed "Wedge Tower". There may be other routes on and around these bluffs as Culbert notes already in the 1974 guide some confusion in the record, a sentiment perpetuated in Fairley. The 1973 CAJ is pretty clear though about the features if you match them up; however, the bluffs seem to have been a undocumented practice ground for years.

One of the darker, smaller buttresses at lower right was climbed in 1972 by Peter Koedt and John Fike ('73 CAJ). It was the one "immediately to the right of the one with the spectacular undercut". 5.8

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