May 8, 2015
Columbia Icefield, AB
Stutfield NE2, also known as East Stutfield is the unofficial name of a sub-peak of Stutfield Peak’s main summit. It itself is not an interesting objective but listed as a separate 11,000er in Bill Corbett’s The 11,000ers book, hence it’s on my hit-list if I’m in that area. Like its neighbours, the biggest challenge is to get the weather as well as the long approach on skis. Obviously I wouldn’t come all the way to the Northern end of Columbia Icefield just to ascend Stutfield NE. Kevin, Ben and I did it as the 3rd objective of a grand slam aiming to bag all the peaks in that general area. Earlier in the day we successfully ascended Stutfield Peak and then Mount Cromwell.
From our earlier observations it looked like we could just ascend straight up the NW Ridge from Stutfield NE/Cromwell col, but after briefly reconsidering we decided to take the normal route. While the direct line would bring us to the summit faster we suspected the snowpack being thin hiding some crevasses and/or bare glacial ice. For the normal route we had to firstly re-ascend to Stut/Stut NE col following our tracks. From near the col Kevin took over the lead and then it’s simply putting one foot in front of another, until reaching the apex of my 22nd 11,000er.
Now we still had a long way to go back to camp. Skiing down the west slopes of Stutfield NE was fast and fun, but re-ascending the main summit of Stutfield Peak following our skin tracks was not so much. It was a tiring game knowing we had to go all the way back to its summit. Descending Stutfield Peak was fast and fun again, but re-ascending back to camp was not so much again… There was just so much up-and-downs and needless to say, it’s more than just a bit frustrating, especially considering the grand plan we had for the following day. But we did make back to camp at a reasonable time after spending 13 hours on skis.
The sunset views were exceptionally good. After the regular “camping stuffs” sleep came in easily and we were all getting psyched for what’s going to happen the next day – South Twin, West Twin, North Twin and Twins Tower!!