Fryatt Climb Adventure

Mountaineering

This peak is only 9 feet lower than Mt Edith Cavell. The three of us (Mike, Larry, and myself) had big plans to summit and capture some breathtaking scenery.

Our morning started around 6 am, carefully not waking the others in the hut , we chow down our usual gorp and started our trek towards the giant massive. The first few hours was just a grunt to the pass Geraldine Valley, then things got a little interesting. We came upon some exposure that was covered in snow and ice. It was so sketchy that Larry and I had second thoughts. It was not even lunch time yet, so we pushed on.

After lunch we put our crampons on and headed toward the face of Mt. Fryatt. The terrain was rough and the mixed rock and ice was not our forte. We reached the couloir with Mike in the lead and then Larry and myself in the sweep. As usual Mike was ahead taking some amazing shots of us ascending the couloir Mike gave Larry a helping hand on the ledge and all of a sudden, “CAMERA, CAMERA…” I see this black object screaming from above and I tried to reach the camera with my ice axe, but I failed in blocking the camera from its impending doom. It launched of the lower ledge like it was a missile hurdling towards the sky.

We reached the ridge at 4 pm (3100 metres) and we got our first look into Geraldine and the Athabasca Valley, and the summit was only 200 metres away, but it looked like another kilometre straight up. After humming and hawing for about half an hour, we let logic prevail. Our descent, back at the couloir, I found a piece of axe handle that looked liked Larry’s. Then I saw what looked like a bum slide that ended up where Mike’s camera had gone. “LARRY, LARRY…” I yelled, no answer, “MIKE, MIKE…” I screamed, again no reply. Frantically, with powerful strokes I impaled the axe into the snow and sped my descent.

From the right side of my ear I heard ” Where’s Larry?” Mike asked. “Is he not with you?” I replied. We started screaming “LARRY, LARRY…” still no answer. From the gap between the couloir we saw movement. Mike headed closer to the edge and saw that Larry was indeed okay.

Relieved that we did not lose him, we re-grouped and he later told us that he went for a slide when the axe handle broke and the ledges muted any sound from above. The sun was setting and we still had the ugly exposed sketchy section to tackle. Finally passing that section in the light, we celebrated with Mike surprising us with some liquid courage. Snapped some alpine glow shots and headed back to the hut. Arriving back at around 11:30pm, we ate and had some beer we stashed in the cold stream and re-counted our day. Not reaching the summit was hard to take, but what an adventure!

September 2002
By Eddie Wong

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