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Possible Second Ascent of Catacombs
Timestamp Free: 2020.01.21 - 19:55:58
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges
  (3 days)     Elevation Gain: 2100m
Participants: Steven S, Ben N, Eric C, Liam H, Vern D
Difficulty: 3: Steep, loose rock up a gully on the south face ending in a simple glacier walk to the summit.
A possible 2nd ascent of Catacombs Mountain via the south face and east glacier.
On Thursday evening on September 12 2013, I met Liam, Eric, Ben and Steven in the Sunwapta Falls parking lot at around 21:00 for yet another Rockies adventure. Eric had visited the Fortress Lake area years before, with his brother, and fell in love with some of the impressive surrounding peaks. The summits of Catacombs and Fortress mountains were on our hit list for this particular venture.

There was very little beta on routes or approaches for either of the two summits we were after. As far as we knew, only the original ascent party had stood on Catacombs true summit - the Grizzly group had summitted the lower, west peak after flying into the valley just west of the mountain.

To be perfectly honest with you, when Eric first mentioned the plan, I'd never even heard of Fortress Lake before, much less any of the peaks in the area. But I like remote ascents and bushwhacking so he didn't have to ask me twice! Apparently I'm not the only (dumb?) one, because Ben, Liam and Steven didn't take much convincing either. We agreed to meet at the Sunwapta Falls parking lot on Thursday after work and get the 14.5km hike to the Athabasca Campground done in the dark - to give us more time for the Catacombs approach on Friday.

Using photos of Catacombs from other peaks, Eric had scouted out a potential route up the south flanks of the mountain that looked to be scrambling to the summit glacier cap. From there it would be a bit of an unknown to travel on the glacier to the summit from the east - we had no idea if the glacier would be passable from our top-out point above a steep, loose gully running up the south face.

[photo]catacombstriproute.jpg[caption]Blue line is our approach and ascent of Catacombs, orange line is the traverse from the Catacombs bivy to the summit of...

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