Klenke and I climbed these two peaks over last Sat-Sun. Originally we had hoped to also tag The Pleiades but that objective proved to be a mountain too far for our time constraints.
Between Larrabee and ABP the map shows a point delineated as 7019. To the SW of that location is a watercourse draining a slope that even at this late date has snowpatches. After climbing Larrabee we traversed over and made camp at ~4800 ft adjacent to this watercourse. The ground was flat and an ancient rock wall made by previous climbers to clear a couple campsites can be found.
When at this locale the summit block of ABP can be seen. Just to the right of the reddish rock of the block is a fin of grey rock that appears similar to the dorsal fin of a sailfish. We reached the ridge separating the drainages of Tomyhoi and Selesia Creeks by climbing to the left of this sail-like rock.
Once there we climbed right on the ridge toward the summit. After a brief while a key landmark appears. To the east of ABP is a buttress that lower down (~7200') has a distinctive Roman nose. The nose is large and flattened on top to distinguish it from a rock horn above. We traversed over to this nose as directly on the left of the nose is the needed gully for ascent. Without snow the gully can be identified by a narrow band of white rock that follows it upward.
The gully has a lingering bulletproof snowpatch. We brought ice axes but at this time a narrow moat has opened on either side. Klenke also brought crampons and we would have shared if need be. Beyond the snow in the gully is hard-packed steep soil which we upclimbed without much trouble but opted to rappel on the downclimb.
At the top of the gully one can see the next key landmark. We harnessed up and protected the climb from here. The conduit to the top is a narrow dark chimney about one 50m rope length away on the left. There is a sucker gully to the right that is wider but is off route. The crux of the climb would be the first fifteen feet to get into the chimney except this difficult section can be avoided. We went briefly into the wide right gully and then climbed back over to the chimney to avoid tricky and unprotectable moves. The chimney is barely wide enough for one's body so we left our packs at its base. We protected the climb up the chimney. Along the way one passes several chockstones. I avoided fully weighting these as if they didn't hold a half ton rock would be in your lap. At the top is a keyhole providing a unique birthing experience. I was reminded of a joke that speaks of a baby wanting a "womb with a view." This is a womb with a view. Once popping through to the other side the rope was carried to the top and not used for protection. An adjacent loose gully provided access to the summit ridge. There are some airy benches just beneath the top that did not present an obstacle.
Sandwiched between Tomyhoi and Slesse is a wonderful place to be. We picked a weekend with perfect weather assured as this mountain demands dry and clear (i.e. no clouds or fog) conditions. You will need to see this mountain in order to reach the top. Our descent involved added rappels to widen the safety margin. From camp to the top was four hours with three to descend.
On the way back Klenke tagged Winchester. I hold fond memories of Winchester when I climbed it 25 years ago with my daughter. She was six weeks old when I carried her to the top and first enjoyed the beauty of this northern extreme of WA. I will return to complete The Pleiades in the future.
When coming off Larabee a month ago, I met a guy who had just done AB solo. He had no technical climbing experience and simply scrambled it. According to him, the route is easier than it looks and wasn't particularly exposed.
It is easier than it looks and much of the upclimb is certainly a scramble, but definitely not all. It could be climbed unprotected but in some of the areas a fall would be fatal. For myself I am uncomfortable and find it foolish to climb without any safety net at all. People are always capable of tripping and anyone can have a misstep. It fact you can count on it happening sometime in your own climbing career. Whenever you play a game with gravity the deck is stacked against you. You never win anything out there but you sure can lose everything. The credo I climb with is one voiced originally about K2; "The mountain always wins. You just try not to lose."
Thanks for the perspective. AB peak has fascinated me since I was a kid, but the long approach and daunting appearance has kept me from exploring it. I'm probably too long in the tooth now to want to try it, but I've always been curious. Would love to see some photos posted if you got any.
Thanks for the TR Mike.
Heres a pic of ABP just for the heck of it
-------------- Long since I've been amongst majestic peaks
nor side mirrored lakes where awe so speaks.
Blanketed valleys the dawn awakes and blinking stars to fade.
My soul is called to see these things, the Hand of God has made.
Oren...Thanks for the photo. The reddish rock in the photo is a shoulder of Larrabee. Just above the reddish rock is a snowy patch that looks like a reverse fishhook. The vertical portion of that patch is the upper section of the gully to the left of what I call a Roman nose. At this late date the only remaining snow is at the top of the gully but it is boilerplate-hard. We found a moat off to either side. Just above that snowy gully is a dark vertical band. That is the key chimney to ascend. To its right is a wide gully that won't get you to the top but after climbing just a short way will allow the climber to circumvent difficult moves needed to access the chimney.
-------------- "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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