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Mount Albert - West Side and Spire from Air # 7653

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Date: 2005.08.10
Vantage Point: From an Air Canada flight Whitehorse-Vancouver

Caption: Mount Albert's west side with the subsidiary northern spire out at left.

PhotoDescr: I was flying back from the Yukon and trying to conserve my shots because I had about 3 to go before I filled my memory card. Looking over the shoulder of my neighbour in the window seat, I saw this amazing looking spire, and leaned across him to take the picture. Next step was to find out where it was. On examining my photos back home, it was obvious the photo was somewhere in a line between Elaho Mountain and Tantalus as that's what the bracketing photos were of. But what summit was it? Where was the intruiging spire? Don Serl and Jordan Peters shrugged. No idea. I spent a couple months idly looking on the maps, and finally came up with a candidate unnamed summit just west of Mt Alexander. But the background peaks did not match up. Finally, in the throes of insatiable curiosity I emailed the photo to the expert: "Mountains of the Coast" author John Baldwin, with an explanatory note.

The email came back from John "I think it's Mount Albert".

Albert? How could this be? I thought I knew what Albert looked like... I got out the maps and took a peek. Sure enough it IS Albert. The pretty spire is the unnamed ca. 2250 m north peak of the Albert massif, 2 km north of the summit. The north face of this spire drops 1100 m sheer to Hunaechin valley. (You can see a little bit of it between the two ridges dropping left from the summit. It looks clean. . . .)

Of course that means the face at lower right, is the 1200 m high southwest face of Albert itself. Over the years this wall has excited many who caught a glimpse of it on the contour map (see CAJ 1972, Paul Starr article). "Yeah, it's 1200 m high" more than one sucker has raved. One person actually told me it was seven thousand feet high if you count the slabby approach. Of course, Colin Dionne has actually tried it: "steep and loose" was the verdict. A BASE jumper investigated it more recently via flyby but was disappointed by the slabby band at the bottom, not to mention the diagonal ledge in the middle providing a potentially fatal impact site. I'm certain someone will climb it eventually. In the meantime, I find the spire more attractive.

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