Amicus Mountain

August 1, 2020


Squamish / Ashlu-Elaho Divide, BC

Amicus Mountain is a glaciated massif on Ashlu-Elaho Divide that’s most commonly done as part of the ski traverse but thank to the deactivation of the roads in Ashlu Creek valley this area has seen much less traffic in recent years. This peak is seldom ascended in summer conditions because of the inefficiency in glacier travel on foot. My plan for Amicus Mountain was actually in summer as I had already done Icecap Peak. I wanted to save Pykett-to-Buck as a short and lame ski trip and do Amicus together with Ashlu and Porterhouse in a summer camp. The access was of course by helicopter and the plan was to spend 1 day and 1 night tagging the three summits. It wasn’t difficult to find partners for this group of peaks but the challenge was to align weather, conditions, pilot and partners. In the end the window came in August long weekend and the team was Alex, Winnie, Nathan, Sean and myself. Earlier in this trip we had ascended Porterhouse Peak and Ashlu Mountain. Alex had already done Amicus Mountain on skis a few years ago so he decided to wait in camp. The rest of us soldiered on under the toasting sun.

Ascents of Porterhouse, Ashlu and Amicus. GPX DL

The only route that made sense for us was the west ridge bypassing the sub-summit. This route involves significant glacier travel but in this year the crevasses were well filled. From Porterhouse/Ashlu col we easily plunged down into the bowl between Amicus Mountain and Porterhouse Peak and plodded onto Amicus’ west ridge. There were several obvious holes and sagging to avoid but the route was fairly straightforward by staying on the north side of the ridge crest. There’s one particular snow bridge that I did not quite like going over unroped but it held well for all of us.

Nathan plodding towards Amicus Mountain

Sean and Winnie ascending onto the lower west ridge

Looking back at Porterhouse Peak

Winnie and Sean avoiding a poorly-bridged crevasse

Nathan leading the way

Plodding up on one of the easier sections

Continuing up towards the false summit.

Me posing in front of a big crevasse that we had to cross on a snow bridge

Winnie checking out the crevasse

Another photo of this bottomless crevasse. I was nervous to cross it unroped…

After the sketchy snow bridge we bypassed the false summit by traversing on some steep snow with a few more holes and sagging thrown in. We aimed for the broad saddle between the false and true summits and hopped onto the rocky ridge fairly easily. The ascent of the true summit from the saddle was straightforward either on snow or on rock. Winnie and I hopped back onto snow for less mental work while Sean and Nathan stayed on rock for the whole way.

Sean looking small with Ashlu Mountain behind

The glacier scenery on Ashlu-Elaho Divide is immense

Finally could aim for the true summit of Amicus Mountain

The unofficially-named “Amicus Glacier” dropping into Elaho River

Sean plodding up bypassing the false summit

The true summit and its west ridge ahead

Winnie and Sean and the false summit

The final stretch on the west ridge of Amicus Mountain

There are gigantic holes everywhere around this peak

Winnie with some immense South Coast glaciers behind

Partial Summit Panorama from Amicus Mountain. Click to view large size.

Partial Summit Panorama from Amicus Mountain. Click to view large size.

Looking back at the false summit, which is only slightly lower

Pykett Peak on Ashlu-Elaho Divide

Winnie approaching the summit of Amicus Mountain

A wider view of Icecap Peak and the glaciers around it

A closer view of Icecap Peak that I ascended in a white-out in 2017

A zoomed-in view of Mt. Cayley massif

Chimai Mountain across Ashlu Creek valley

Me on the summit of Amicus Mountain

Me, Winnie, Sean and Nathan on the summit of Amicus Mountain

We stayed on the summit for almost an hour as we were ahead of schedule. There was surprisingly good cell coverage that we could communicate with Alex, who’s chilling at camp. Alex then texted the pilot to confirm our pick-up time at 5 pm and then the four of us started the return slog. Descending the west ridge we pretty much just followed our exact tracks and the soft snow meant the descent was pretty fast. In short time we were back down to the low point and another 20 minutes later we were back to camp. I should say that the glacier travel on Amicus Mountain was not tame and easy. One needs some experience to handle the terrain but with good route-finding it was not too bad. We had almost 2 hours to kill at camp so took things very leisurely. The camping chairs came handy again.

Nathan starting the descent

A view down onto the dry “Amicus Glacier” again

Winnie descending the uppermost summit ridge

The false summit ahead.

Winnie and Sean bypassing the false summit with the true one behind

Back to that gigantic crevasse

Winnie looked very happy..

Nathan charging. Porterhouse Peak ahead

Winnie and Sean descending off Amicus Mountain

Looking back at Amicus Mountain from near our camp

The chopper showed up on time and the fly home was as expected, super scenic. We again, had some unobstructed views of the Ashlu-Elaho Divide looking at all of those now-familiar mountains. Once back to Squamish we followed Nathan’s lead for a well-deserved group dinner in town before resuming our respective ways back home. Overall this was an awesome, type-1-fun kind of trip. The climbs were fun and so was the company.

The chopper came to pick us up, on time..

Glaciers draining the south side of Amicus Mountain

Some rarely-seen glaciers on Mt. Charlie-Charlie

The massif of Mt. Wood

Flying high above Squamish River valley now

Aiming towards Zenith Mountain on Tantalus Range

Flying beside Rumbling Glacier on Mt. Tantalus