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A Mid-winter Ascent of Schiesser's Apex (peak of Whistling Rock Ridge)
Timestamp Free: 2018.09.23 - 18:22:07
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Spray Mountains
Participants: Reg Bonney, Rick Collier
Difficulty: 4: Steep and sometimes unstable snow; moderate sections of ice; a few minor dry-tooling incidents
The report recounts the location, the first ascent, and a winter climb of Whistling Rock Ridge
Whistling Rock Ridge is, for all intents and purposes, the lengthy arete extending close to 6 km NW from Mount Sir Douglas to the SE corner of the upper valley of the Burstall Pass hike (all this in the Kananaskis area W of the Smith-Dorrien highway); on its W side are the alplands of the newly retreated Sir Douglas glacier, and on its E are the delta and neve of the Robertson glacier. It is not a specially prominent, nor interesting, ridge, and probably would not be listed in the Guidebook to the Southern Rockies, even with an informal designation, had it not been for the well-known Rockies' guide, Bernie Schiesser, who led a group of climbers-in-training (C. Findlay, P. Findlay, M. Gould, J. Noakes, P. Poole, M. Rosenbaum, and S. Sabey) up a good deal of its length in July of 1972. As Bernie has put it, "the ridge was attained on the N end [and] followed to [the] final buttress. Here [the party] traverse[d the] E side for 60m to [the] top of [a] large pillar [and] ascend[ed] directly up the first gully for 25m; then left (S) and onto easy climbing to [the] summit ridge" (Green Guidebook 111). The description also provides a location for the supposed apex of Whistling Rock Ridge: "N of the 2 high points on the ridge; 2.5 km N from Sir Douglas" (Green Guidebook 111).
What this signifies is, of course, that the true summit of WRR is Mount Sir Douglas and that there are high points on the ridge just N of this peak that are higher than Schiesser's Apex. In any case, the summit established by the Schiesser party in 1972 can be identified as the 9610' (2929m) crest located at GR 165/229 on 82 J/11 - Kananaskis Lakes.
WRR is certainly a fine scramble (with a couple of technical sections) in good summer weather that extends over about 3.2 km, with an elevation gain of...
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