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West Ridge ascent of Mount Sir Douglas
Timestamp Free: 2019.01.15 - 22:49:18
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Spray Mountains
  (2 days)     Elevation Gain: 2500m
Participants: Steven S, Ben N, Vern D
Difficulty: 4: Glacier ice to 35 degrees with rockfall and overhead serac hazard, a bergschrund crossing and then steep, dangerously loose rock to an exhilarating summit ridge. Now reverse it. I put the west ridge route that we did at around Alpine II or III and 5.2.
Most people seem to have a rough time climbing Mount Sir Douglas' west ridge. Ben, Steven and I decided to see how bad it really was.
A Fun Mountain? Really?

Raf told me I should climb Mount Sir Douglas this year (2015) since it was my 40th birthday and Sir Douglas is the 40th 11,000er in Corbett's book. Who am I to argue with the crazy Pol? I tentatively made plans to attempt this peak at some point this year, and that point came to fruition with the usual crazy planning that Ben, Steven and I usually end up doing. Our plans changed at least 3 times over 2 days, including a phone call and last minute weather checks from Red Deer as they drove out to my house in Calgary!

For some reason I was super-psyched and excited to tackle Sir Douglas. I felt like a kid whose birthday is the next day. I wasn't nervous at all about climbing it and I felt really pumped and positive the whole time despite climbing well out of my comfort zone. I had the same experience when I climbed Mount Assiniboine and ended up free soloing the entire NE ridge. Some mountains were just made for my style of ascent I guess. Many people don't like the west ridge route on Sir Douglas one bit. You'll have a hard time finding a trip report from this mountain that's positive and many people swear it's one of the loosest, most horrible routes on the 11,000er list. I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun on this mountain and enjoyed the experience immensely.

Rating Sir Douglas

Sir Douglas is strange beast. Many alpine objectives have a standard rating that most folks pretty much agree on after climbing it. Not so with Sir Douglas! Based on different trip reports and the guidebook, it's rated anywhere from Alpine II (no rock rating) to Alpine III, 5.5. Raf K told me that he would put it at around Alpine II 5.2. After soloing the west ridge, I can see why the ratings are so varied. The approach glacier is...

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