Adieu Mountain

July 2, 2017


Lillooet River / Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC

Adieu Mountain is a fairly rocky summit south-east of the much bigger Nivalis Mountain in the eastern McBride Range. This part of the range is rarely visited and in particular, very few would bother making an ascent of Adieu Mountain other than the hardcore peak-baggers or explorers. The information available was very sparse other than a one-sentence description “the peak can be climbed from Talon/Adieu col via the easy north ridge”. The ridge did not look easy to us at all and in fact, we all wondered whether or not this peak would go for us after all. This was the 2nd day of our Nivalis area exploration and earlier in the day Alex, Ben, Daniel and myself had already ascended Talon Peak.

Ascent routes for peaks around Nivalis Mountain

The route initially out of the col up the lower north ridge of Adieu Mountain went fairly easily. We picked a line closer to the ridge crest which involved some up-and-downs. Those undulating bumps could be bypassed by staying on snow traversing across which Daniel discovered on return. The highlight of staying near the ridge was to see a massive drop-off down the west side at which we all enjoyed practising “tumbling”. A few microwaves were sent down crushing the slopes and the sounds were very loud. That was very cool. Then upwards we went until the terrain became increasingly steep towards the summit block. Attacking the block directly might go with some steep snow and rock although there’s no way to be sure. I spotted a steep snow couloir leading at least 100 m down connecting to the lower west ridge. This line would almost certainly work but involved some steep snow climbing and massive elevation loss. After some debates the others went for the direct attack while I dropped into the couloir on my own.

From Talon/Adieu col, looking onwards. We’d go up and over that bump

Alex checking out a huge drop-off

Down-climbing this couloir was quite a long process with no room of mistake. The angle was just steep enough that I had to face inwards and kick-step using my crampons. The snow was mostly a layer of soft slush on very hardpacked base which forced me to stay in that down-climbing mode even when the angle mellowed out. This costed a considerable amount of time. The traverse onto west ridge proper was also much steeper than anticipated and some dedicated sideways shuffling was required. Thankfully the rest of the ascent up west ridge was just a plod, albeit a long and tedious one. The others got there about 20 minutes ahead of me and we then all took a much deserved rest break.

I spotted this couloir and then went for it

Looking back at the steep couloir I just down-climbed

Summit Panorama from Adieu Mountain. Click to view large size.

A closer look at Mt. Pitt

Looking towards Fire Mountain under the clouds

Talking to the other guys I decided to follow them down the north face/north ridge rather than retracing my own route. Their route wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought although at places some extreme cautions were still required. The hardest section was actually near the top where we had to traverse across a wet and down-sloping ledge with no good holds. But after that it’s mostly 3rd class down-climbing to get onto the snow. Descending the snow was then a long inward-facing process but with no elevation regain we all got down fairly quickly.

Starting down the North Face/North Ridge

Ben and Alex on rock while Daniel down-climbing snow way down below

Talon Peak which was our previous objective

This is what we just descended.

Based on earlier observation we didn’t have to re-ascend Talon Peak, and instead we would use one of the snow ramps to short-cut into Talon/Nivalis col. The most obvious one came about 50 m higher than Talon/Adieu col on Talon Peak side. The ramp was quite steep and exposed to some massive drop-offs that for a long while I decided to face into the slope and shuffle across. No crampon was required this time which saved some time. Once the angle eased we easily plunged into the valley and then reascended back to Talon/Nivalis col.

Looking back at Adieu Mountain’s north aspect. From this angle it looks hard

Back to Talon/Nivalis col, time to focus on the next objective

Now without much of a hesitation we set across the Nivalis Glacier towards The Orphans.