Aberdeen/ Haddo

I tried for this Haddo/Aberdeen double last year but wasn’t feeling the serac hazard at the time. I tried again for it yesterday with Shaun. The summer route ascends directly up the glacier tongue to the north, but in the winter there is a better route for skiing. It goes up from the west side, up moraine slopes and thru a couloir which spits out ontop of the lower glacier. From there, there is a bypass for the upper seracs on the left side, and then you’re on the upper glacier with an easy slope toward Haddo Peak and a gnarly ascent to Aberdeen.

We crossed Lake Louise and started skinning up the valley in the dark. Then on the next big moraine slopes on the left after Surprise Pass, we started gaining some elevation. Crust was very hard and we were constantly swearing and battling for grip. Around the end of the couloir where the walls started closing in the snow started to improve. We booted up the couloir to find that the top end of it was a rock step. Last year (in April) it skied clean from the faces above, but with a little picking and chopping we got over it. Then we continued booting until the slope lessened slightly and we were at the elevation of the lower glacier and skinned across.

We roped up and skinned quickly under the serac fall. There were a few 50# chunks lying around from previous afternoons, but no evidence of any large falls yet. From there, it was a bit of skinning up and a short bootpack, then we were on the upper glacier, a big saddle joining Haddo Peak to Mt. Aberdeen. Shaun was totally bagged, and insisted I go summit Haddo and Aberdeen without him. Haddo was a super easy skin up, then I didn’t even bother transitioning to ski back to the saddle. Mt Aberdeen was starting to get a bit on the ascent, but the descent chute was a little bit more northerly and good dry pow still. I skinned and then bootpacked up the ridge. The backside of the ridge is huge nasty cliffy terrain, some of the most committed bootpacking I’ve done for a summit. It would be easier to go directly up the chute, but there is a lower cliff band and large icefall below if something goes badly, choose your poison.

The descent was great, powder on Aberdeen summit face, pow on the glacier to the couloir. Shaun downclimbed the couloir entrance and the narrow part of the coolie. I was planning on sideslipping to a point on the entrance then pointing it in and killing the speed, but the rocks just didn’t quite align right, felt as though I’d catch an edge making the transition to pointing so I chopped my edges in and sidestepped into the coolie. The coolie was edgeable hardpack, and then the moraine slopes out were perfect rippable corn snow. To me, this is more of a mountaineering objective though, it just seems like there were only a couple dozen turns on the face and glacier, the amount of truly special skiing just wasn’t in line with the work put in. Go for this to bag some peaks and get views, there is much better bang for buck if you want some rad skiing.

Me shredding Aberdeen
The upper seracs. Who sees the double ice cliff drop?
I always feel better with skis on feet than crampons

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