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A Visit to the Mantle Glacier: August 24-31 2003
Timestamp Free: 2020.05.29 - 00:54:35
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges
  (8 days)
Participants: Drew Brayshaw; Kurt Fickeisen Peak bagging up to 5.6, mixed climbing, glacier travel, 3 day storm
Weather conditions prevented a summit on Queen Bess. 5 other peaks around the head of the Mantle Glacier were climbed by the party.
For many years I have harbored a desire to climb the southeast buttress of Mount Queen Bess, based mainly on the evocative Good Queen Bess article in the 1981 CAJ; also on a slide show of Mike Down's and some words of encouragement from Don Serl.

In 2002 Brent Nixon and I failed even to leave the end of the road at Tatlayoko Lake. Instead we went slab climbing in Bella Coola, an option more appropriate to the weather and our budget.

For 2003, I had a new partner, Kurt Fickeisen from Seattle. Also, we could afford to fly in. Thus the character of the expedition changed dramatically as we took many air-supported luxuries in with us. As we were to find out these made no difference to our chances of success but did dramatically improve the quality of life in base camp.

Kurt and I left Chilliwack on August 23 and drove up to Bluff Lake. At the Whitesaddle airstrip we ran into Laurent Mingo, Phil Hammer, Libby and Gwen who had just come out from a hiking traverse through the Pantheons. We passed the evening drinking beer by the lake.

The next day, August 24, Mike King flew Kurt and I into our camp site for the next week by a tarn southeast of Armada Mountain, on the Doran Creek side of the divide. Although this camp was further from Queen Bess we judged it to offer a compromise with respect to accessing many other Mantle Glacier peaks; additionally we felt it would be nice to camp on heather and rock rather than a late-summer glacier.

The forecast in Vancouver had been for sunshine right through the week. By the time we were flying in, the forecast had decreased to cloud, sun and cloud for the next 3 days. Mike was repeating this forecast to other groups in the Niuts and Waddington as he dropped us off. We could see a thick band of cloud over the Wadd as we got...

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