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The Pawn - NE Ridge
Timestamp Free: 2020.08.11 - 10:15:30
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges
  (3 days)
Participants: Colin Wooldridge, Bob Pelkey, Jason Thompson Low 5th class, loose rock, lack of protection
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[photo]01TreelineView.JPG[caption]Treeline view of the Pawn on approach[/photo]

The Pawn - Jason Thompson

I have a confession to make - I've had a love affair for many years now. My wife knows about it and she's ok with it - because it's a mountain affair. The source of my affliction is the Bush river area of the Canadian Rockies. There's something about the mix of deep valleys, soaring peaks, bumpy logging roads, non-existent trails and infrequent visitors that combines to draw me back year after year for yet another adventure.

This year it was the Pawn - one of the informally named peaks of the Chess Group on the western side of the Columbia Icefields. The seed for the trip was planted in July 2003 while climbing Mt King Edward. On the way back to camp we admired a fine looking peak across the valley to the SW which turned out to be the unclimbed Pawn. On the drive out we explored some deactivated logging roads, but the access didn't look particularly inviting. So a return trip was temporarily put on the shelf.

Sure enough, a couple of intervening years dulled our vision of nasty bush and bred optimism anew. On the evening of Sept 28th, 2007 Colin Woodridge, Bob Pelkey and I made the drive from Calgary to the end of the road below our objective. There were hunters camping at various locations in the main Bush River valley, but we fully expected to leave them behind when we turned left at the 86 km mark (from the TransCanada Highway) to ascend a side valley and cut blocks on a shoulder some 7 km SE of the Pawn. However, after grinding up thousands of feet above the valley floor over numerous water bars and around rocks and deadfall, sometime after midnight we passed another vehicle, tent and dying embers of an abandoned campfire. I felt guilty for...

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