Sergeant Mountain

July 20, 2020


Clendinning Area, BC

Sergeant Mountain along with Corporal Mountain and Mt. Whiting are several summits that form the Ross Ridge guarding Ross Arm of Clendinning Glacier to the east. This peak itself doesn’t offer much mountaineering interest, but the area is super cool and remote. I think most peaks in this area had seen less than a handful ascents and at least one officially-named summit nearby had seen no recorded ascent. This was the 3rd day of the 10-day Clendinning traverse among Alex, Vlad and myself and earlier in the day we had ascended the bigger prize, Mt. Boardman.

The section from Mt. Boardman to Blumlisalp Mountain.

We had a few route options to get onto Ross Ridge from our camp under Howitzer Peak and in the end we opted to carry our packs to as close to Sergeant Mountain as possible to shorten our distance. All of the route options involved ascending the fractured Military Glacier up onto the ridge so it really didn’t matter that much. For the route we took we had to plod half an hour on a horizontal bench and then made a long rising traverse over multiple large sags and open crevasses to the col immediately south of Sergeant Mountain. This stretch had the most serious glacier travel of our whole trip and we made some slow but steady progress with the ridiculously heavy packs.

Me checking out a huge crevasse. Photo by Alex R.

Alex plodding up the very fractured upper section of Military Glacier

Zig-zagging around big crevasses

Vlad with a sub-summit of Sergeant Mountain behind

Another photo of Military Glacier, with Mt. Perkins behind

Sergeant Mountain from where we dropped our packs

The ascent of Sergeant Mountain did not look particularly easy via the south ridge so after a long break we discussed our options. I decided to lead a line tackling steep snow hoping to get onto the uppermost NE Ridge but there was a very thinly bridged bergschrund that I didn’t want to risk it. Alex then led a middle line and this line eventually turned into some stiff 4th class climbing that we all soloed without a problem. We were confident to find an easier route down so didn’t worry too much about the descent. From where we topped out the summit was only two minutes’ walking away and we even dug out a register, to our surprise.

Alex ascending steep snow past a bergschrund

Vlad following up the steep snow

Tricky class 3/4 scrambling to get onto the summit

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

Pivotal Mountain in the middle of Clendinning Glacier

Howitzer Peak

The south side of Mt. Boardman and Assault Glacier

Part of Ross Ridge including Mt. Whiting

Our group shot on the summit of Sergeant Mountain

We then descended the west ridge hoping for an ascent of Corporal Mountain but soon enough we were blocked by some difficult cliffs. Alex and I spent a good amount of time looking for a way down to the col. I tried to down-scramble the ridge but things became too exposed and stiff without a rope but then we found a narrow ledge to get us onto the steep snow. Vlad opted to rest and wait while Alex and I continued towards Corporal Mountain.

Descending the west ridge with Clendinning Glacier under us

Alex posing on a rock. We bailed the ridge option here.

Thankfully we found this thin ledge to get onto the snow

Alex down-climbing steep snow towards Sergeant/Corporal col