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South Totem - West Slopes
Timestamp Free: 2019.08.20 - 21:18:05
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Front Ranges / Murchison Group
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Participant: Graeme Pole 1990.09.04

Park at Totem Creek on the Icefields Parkway (51:51.7-116:39.7). Adjust your left leg so that it is shorter than the right by about 15 cm - that's how much sidehilling there is on this ascent - then head into the woods. I've always found it easier to travel on the northwest bank of Totem Creek, but choose your poison. Stumble on until you are opposite the tributary valley that comes in from the south at 51:52.7-116:38.2. Ascend into this valley, diagonalling east. There's some absolutely awful sidehilling on avalanche slopes here.

Bushwhack to the lower slopes (51:52.5-116:37.1) and simply plug away on scree. Hey, but nothing is a sure thing. The surprise came at the top, 51:52.9-116:36.4. The supposed-to-be-summit was separated from another, equally high, cairn-bearing tower, by a grotty notch which, on my visit, was choked with ice. Being crampon-less, I declined the attempt, built a cairn on the west summit and left a register. It's a toss-up which point is higher. (But the other one usually...

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