Bident Mountain (Attempt)

Summit Elevation (m): 3084
Trip Date: Friday, July 27, 2007 to Saturday, July 28, 2007
Elevation Gain (m): 1200
Round Trip Time (hr): 18
Total Trip Distance (km): 16
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 5 – you fall, you die
Difficulty Notes: A fall on the crux would kill but then again we weren’t really on a very nice route. There has to be better ways to climb this sucker!
Technical Rating: MN9; YDS (5.4)
Map: Google Maps

The guide book is obviously out-of-date on these climbs, or at least the access to these climbs but in doing some research on the internet on Thursday night I was a bit more prepared for the actual difficulty. Both Rick Collier (bivouac.com) and Alan Kane indicated quite clearly that they consider these two mountains difficult. If Collier considers something “difficult”, I won’t take it too lightly! I don’t have too much to add to JW’s account except that our trip even started out on a sour note when we were an hour late getting to Moraine Lake because of a shut down on the trans Canada highway. Some trips are over before they even start and this one definitely had that feel to it for some reason!

Bident Mountain Attempt Route Map

I should point out that I think JW would have been keen to at least give Bident a try but I was having second thoughts considering the cold, wet weather and my inexperience at traversing steep snow/ice above a gaping crevasse (!) and Kev wasn’t too excited about down climbing into the schrund in a whiteout so that’s how we came to the decision to back off the route.

Starting the rock hopping along Consolation Lakes with the col (L), Bident and Quadra visible.
Alpine meadows beneath the col – visible at left of center here.
Ascending steep snow and horrid scree to the Bident Col.

There were some successes though. We managed to bivy (no tents) at 9,000 feet in pouring rain and not get cold. We managed to climb some very loose / slippery 5.4 terrain (JW was once again the hero on a basically unprotected lead) in the rain. The terrain was so loose that rocks would come down either on their own or with the slightest nudge. Both Kev and I got some damage from rockfall and there were a bunch of very close misses.

At our bivy on the east ridge of Bident Mountain.
An amazing sunrise from our bivy.

We also learned to make sure our rappel anchor was hanging well over the lip of the rappel. JW climbed back up the rope twice after our rappel to free the ropes. The first time it was just caught on something (the terrain was really broken up) but the second time the rope couldn’t even get through the rappel anchor (tied off cord) because it was caught between the anchor and the edge of the rappel terrain. We pulled on that rope with three guys and couldn’t get it down! JW climbed all the way up our rappel route, again basically unprotected because of the horrible rock, and rescued the rope!

Rapping the horribly loose east face of Bident Mountain.

It was a great alpine experience for me, even though it was disappointing to come up so short on our objectives.

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