Type: Ice, Snow, Alpine, 1000 ft (303 m), 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Felix Knauth, John Whitmer June 1958
Page Views: 5,946 total · 34/month
Shared By: Kris Gorny on Dec 6, 2006
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker -, Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Vicki Schwantes, Justin Johnsen

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The north face of Mt. Mendel is cut by two twin gullies (see photo). The one to the right is the route. The gully to the left is the harder Ice Nine. Cross the chossy bergshrund and ascend 400' of steep snow to the bottom of the ice section. Continue past an ice bulge into the couloir. Follow the 60 degree ice for about 4 pitches. Another 2 pitches in the mixed terrain lead to the notch below the summit, on the western side of the mountain. From there, a short 10 feet rap from a bolt to the ledge is followed by an excellent 5.7 pitch leading directly to the summit of Mt. Mendel.

We climbed Mendel Couloir in July 2005. At that time the ice was thin and plating. The upper pitches consisted, to a large degree, of loose boulders marginally bound by thin ice, making climbing very unnerving.

Make sure to clear the lower sections of the route early, before sun hits the summit -- we did not and found ourselves in a midst of frequent rockfall. Once above the bulge, retreat could be difficult, and could turn into an epic.

Rumour has it that global climate change affected ice conditions on Mendel. As a result, the neighboring Ice Nine very rarely comes in. We eyed it and there was ice leading to the steep chimney at the entrance to the couloir but we didn't see any ice above that.


Drop down from Lamarck Col to the bottom of Darwin Canyon and ascend the steep snow slope towards Mt. Mendel. Negotiate your way through scree fields (loose and icy at times) towards the bergshrund below the snow fields on the north face.

Descent: From the summit of Mt. Mendel follow the ridge towards Mt. Darwin for about 200 yards. Locate a left hand side gully marked with a cairn. Exposed class 4 ledges and three raps from old slings lead to the base of the mountain. Finding the gully and decending was not trivial and we were racing the sunset. Didn't want to find out what it's like in the dark.


We had 5 ice screws and wished we had 7. In the upper part a standard rack of cams and nuts was handy.