Monday, July 09, 2007

Mt. Custer

Took a friend from Toronto out climbing this weekend. We left early Saturday morning from Cameron Lake and hiked up towards Summit Lake. At the top of the hill we turned and followed the ridge over towards Custer. From the Summit Knob/Custer col we hiked around the east flank of Custer and headed up towards Herbst Glacier. We found a nice place to have lunch and put on our crampons and begin the slog up. I was amazed at the amount of snow there yet. When Dave and i did it a couple of years ago the rock steps were fully exposed but this year the first one wasn't even visible, the second one only had 5' sticking out above the snow and the third step had about half showing above the snow. There's only one crevasse that i'm aware of and it's completely covered with no signs of any sagging anywhere. Once on top of the glacier there's one rock step up to the summit ridge. The summit block has some fun scrambling. We climbed up the north side of it to the summit. Assuming that everyone who climbs signs the register, there was one summit last year from some americans, one in 2005 from Dave and i, and i think the previous summit was either 2003 or 2002. It's one of those peaks that doesn't see a lot of ascents. By looking at the register i would say only one or two ascents a year. We bivied on the summit ridge and watched a very active lightening storm somewhere over to the east. We woke up Sunday morning to see the valley bottom below us covered in cloud with only the peaks showing above. It was quite a sensation because by looking down all you could see was the top of the clouds as far as you could see but when you rolled over and looked west you could see the valley bottom. The cloud cover only went as far west as the continental divide. On the west side of the divide the visibility was unlimited but east of the divide all you could see was the cloud cover in the valley bottoms for as far as you could see. We enjoyed watching the sea of clouds while we had our morning cup of coffee and breakfeast. We then packed up and did the traverse from Custer over to Forum Peak and then down to Cameron Lake. It was an excellent weekend with stunning views and i'd highly recommend it for anyone that want's to put in a good weekend.



At 7/28/2007 05:58:00 PM , Blogger Marko Polo said...

Hey Blair, I would love to get a hold of those pics from the bachelor party!

iwaasa (at) gobot (dot) com


At 8/06/2007 09:36:00 PM , Blogger chris g said...

If I remember correctly a warden got lost on the backside of Custer (North Fork of Kintla) back in the 40's or 50's for quite some time. I will have to talk to my dad to find out exactly what happened. I think he made it out, but it took a few days before the cloud opened up and he could get oriented.

There used to be a trail down from the nunatak into kintla lake. This really got overgrown in the 50's.

At 8/07/2007 08:49:00 PM , Blogger Blair Piggot said...

Dave and i followed a good trail from the top of Bennett Pass down towards the Nanatuk a couple of years ago. We went down into the valley a ways to a horse camp but we didn't go any further so i don't know if that trail went all the way to the Nanatuk or not.
Are you back home now Chris. How was Thailand??
Mark, i've tried twice to send my pictures to you but it keeps coming back. E-mail me and i'll try again.....blanya at telus dot net

At 8/09/2007 08:14:00 AM , Blogger chris g said...

Still in Thailand. We are up at Chang Mai trying to do a bit of climbing on sharp rock between rains. I sure mis raily and Ko pih pih!


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