Mount Moe

October 24, 2015

2664m

Garibaldi Provincial Park / Whistler, BC

Among the peaks by Wedgemount Lake, Mt. Moe seems to be the one that doesn’t often get climbed. One probable reason is that you have to ascend up and over Mt. Cook to access it but to be fair, that’s not a long way over (certainly shorter than the scramble route, W. Ridge of Wedge Mountain). In fact, most beta I got was from ski mountaineering parties doing one of the bigger traverses in this region. In the height of summer a strong party should have no problem traversing Cook – Moe – Weart in one long day, but as of late October I had to break them down into 2 days. Earlier in the trip I’d already ascended Mt. Weart by its standard SE Ridge, and then Mt. Cook by the west slopes.

Ascent route for Mt. Cook, Mt. Moe and Mt. Weart

Ascent route for Mt. Cook, Mt. Moe and Mt. Weart. GPX DL

From the summit of Mt. Cook my first business was to drop down to Cook/Weart col. To my surprise that’s such a short way over (only 66 m elevation loss according to bivouac.com). And then I had to work my over to Weart/Moe col and to get there I had to traverse about 1 km on a glacier. From satellite images this glacier appears to be fairly tame but that’s not the case. I could see a few sizable crevasses already from earlier observations and on top of that, the thin fresh snow coverage had made glacier travel specially tricky. Crampons on and down I went. Lots of careful probing were required as I slowly slowly worked my way through some crevasse field.

This is the glacier that I had to cross

This is the glacier that I had to cross

Mt. Moe ahead

Mt. Moe ahead

Looking back towards Mt. Cook

Looking back towards Mt. Cook

One of the monster sized crevasse...

One of the monster sized crevasse…

Lots of crevasses around...

Lots of crevasses around…

My objective is slowly getting closer

My objective is slowly getting closer

Another monster...

Another monster…

From Weart/Moe col I had to find a way to gain the rocky ridge immediately in front of me. I went climber’s left side to ascend a steep (frozen) scree slope on crampons and it was not fun. (On the way back I just went straight down the nose and discovered a hidden ledge that worked perfectly). Traversing the rocky ridge I soon had to realize that there’s no easy way to gain the summit from the SW Ridge nor S. Face thank to the crazy melt-out in this summer. In winter/spring time I’m sure the S. Face would work but on this particular day I had to traverse way over to the climber’s right onto the E. Ridge. That meant another section of glacier travel and I could see even this flat glacier had quite a few crevasses on it (and partially covered by snow). I opted a line side-hilling above the small ‘schrund and eventually managed to work my way over. Ditching crampons I soon started the scrambling.

On the south ridge extension, looking ahead

On the south ridge extension, looking ahead

The North Face of The Owls

The North Face of The Owls

Looking back at Mt. Cook and the glacier I just crossed

Looking back at Mt. Cook and the glacier I just crossed

The lower portion of that glacier.

The lower portion of that glacier.

This is the flat glacier I had to cross soon...

This is the flat glacier I had to cross soon…

It's obvious why I had to cross that glacier instead of going straight up...

It’s obvious why I had to cross that glacier instead of going straight up…

The scrambling along East Ridge

The scrambling along East Ridge

To gain the E. Ridge proper there’s a section of very loose terrain on nothing but boulders and rubble, but once through this crap the E. Ridge was fairly solid and fun. There’s minimal hands-on from now and it’s a simple plod to the summit. The views were great with the N. Face of Mt. Weart stealing the show.

Summit Panorama from Mt. Moe. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama from Mt. Moe. Click to view large size.

Ipsoot Mountain

Ipsoot Mountain

Pemberton Valley

Pemberton Valley

Mt. Currie

Mt. Currie

Mt. Marriott by the Duffey Lake Road

Mt. Marriott by the Duffey Lake Road

The Joffre Group - Slalok and Matier

The Joffre Group – Slalok and Matier

Mt. Neal and Needles Glacier

Mt. Neal and Needles Glacier

Way in the distance I could see the tip of Harrison Lake

Way in the distance I could see the tip of Harrison Lake

The Owls looks super imposing

The Owls looks super imposing

This is the piece of glacier leading down to The Owls...

This is the piece of glacier leading down to The Owls…

One of the few glacial lakes

One of the few glacial lakes

The N. Face of Mt. Weart

The N. Face of Mt. Weart

Another glacial lake north of Mt. Moe

Another glacial lake north of Mt. Moe

The steep NW Face

The steep NW Face

The theme of these glaciers around is "heavily crevassed"...

The theme of these glaciers around is “heavily crevassed”…

Crevasses....

Crevasses….

My rough route through the glacier is shown

My rough route through the glacier is shown

Me on the summit of Mt. Moe

Me on the summit of Mt. Moe

Another picture of me on the summit

Another picture of me on the summit

Another panorama from the summit. Click to view large size.

Another panorama from the summit. Click to view large size.

One more panorama. Click to view large size.

One more panorama. Click to view large size.

On the descent I simply retraced my route down the E. Ridge, across that small glacier onto the S. Ridge extension and then onto the bigger glacier. I followed my exact tracks back across that crevasse field and over to Weart/Cook col. From here I had two choices. I could have descended beside Armchair Glacier following more-or-less a straight line back to camp without having to re-ascend Mt. Cook, but that route especially the upper section looked fairly loose. The summit of Mt. Cook didn’t look that far so I opted to go back the same way. And once down to within 100 vertical meters of the lake I finally deviated from my ascent route and picked a direct line back to camp.

Descending the broad East Ridge

Descending the broad East Ridge

Onto the smaller and flatter glacier. Note the holes even close to rock

Onto the smaller and flatter glacier. Note the holes even close to rock

My tracks on this smaller glacier

My tracks on this smaller glacier

Onto the south ridge extension, crampons off

Onto the south ridge extension, crampons off

Moat by the larger glacier

Moat by the larger glacier

I had to re-ascend all the way back to Mt. Cook

I had to re-ascend all the way back to Mt. Cook

Into the maze of crevasses...

Into the maze of crevasses…

One of the monsters

One of the monsters

The same monster from a different angle

The same monster from a different angle

Very, very suspicious area... Couldn't trust any footing without probing a few times...

Very, very suspicious area… Couldn’t trust any footing without probing a few times…

My tracks and more crevasses...

My tracks and more crevasses…

Finally done this glacier

Finally done this glacier

A view looking down towards Wedgemount Lake

A view looking down towards Wedgemount Lake

The massive Wedge Mountain

The massive Wedge Mountain

Panorama from the shoulder on Mt. Cook. Click to view large size.

Panorama from the shoulder on Mt. Cook. Click to view large size.

Another look at Wedge Mountain

Another look at Wedge Mountain

Descending the standard route on Mt. Cook

Descending the standard route on Mt. Cook

Wedgemount Lake and Wedge Mountain

Wedgemount Lake and Wedge Mountain

Another group on their way up Mt. Cook

Another group on their way up Mt. Cook

Now I had to make another decision. It’s apparent that some weather was moving in from the south judging by the increasing cloudiness throughout this day and combing with the weather forecast I estimated the following day to be miserable. I wasn’t particularly interested in ascending anything (Parkhurst/Rethel) in bad weather plus the standard route over to Parkhurst/Rethel col was looking ugly in late season conditions. It’s late afternoon and that meant I had about 2+ hours of daylight time. Instead of staying at camp for another night and packing up in the cold morning with possible rain/snow I decided to just head down immediately. The 7-km hike-out was uneventful except for hordes of people that I met (some at the lake, some on their way down and even a few on their way up).

The shelter was full by Saturday evening

The shelter was full by Saturday evening

Time to head home..

Time to head home..

Overall this was a great trip bagging 3 peaks by this beautiful area in the late fall. Not sure if I’ll go back here in the same season though as those boulders and rubble was quite miserable to ascend. It appears that most peaks by this area are better done in early summer or late spring on snow and I’m already looking forward to climb the classic NE Arete of Wedge Mountain and the remote Mt. James Turner at some point.