Mount Fryatt Adventure

Close to the summit of Mt. Fryatt

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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