Alpha Mountain - East Ridge, August 2008
Serratus Mountain - North Face, August 2008
Tantalizing. A word that best describes glimpses of the Tantalus Range as seen from the Sea-to-Sky Highway, and probably the origins of the name ascribed to the prominent group of peaks west of the Squamish River. How many times have my eyes gazed longingly upon its serrate ridges and fractured glaciers while driving to and from Whistler, BC? As any avid climber can attest, one can only ignore these peaks for so long before they get under your skin and slowly fester into a persistent and nagging itch that one is powerless not to scratch. The opportunity to once and for all stop scratching arose finally when Tony Tsuboi invited me to join himself and David Eldred on a sojourn in the range. I in turn invited Aaron Misiuk, making for a solid four-man team.
Alas, that trip amounted to little more than Tony and David making an exploratory helicopter flight across the Squamish River Valley. The alpine and our intended drop-off location at the Serratus-Dione Col (aka Red Tit Col) were completely socked-in, and would remain that way for the next few days. Tony and David cut their vacation short, while Aaron and I spent a few days climbing in Squamish, hopeful that the clouds and rain would subside enough for a heli drop. The weather did eventually improve, but by that time the economics of flying-in were no longer justified considering the limited number of days we had available. Instead, I somehow allowed myself to be talked into climbing the East Ridge of Alpha via the notorious tyrolean traverse across the Squamish River. I'll spare you the juicy details of what transpired that day by the tram platform, but needless to say there was just no way I was prepared to suspend myself 50-feet off the ground from the primary cable and hand-over-hand it to the opposite bank. Tight-roping across seemed like an easier alternative, until I made it about 50 yards from the platform at which point the uncontrollable swinging started. Much to Aaron's frustration and with a new respect for those that do not think twice about such things, I retreated from the platform and walked in shame back to my car. (more...)
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