Avg: 4 from 1 vote
|Type:||Trad, Aid, Ice, Alpine, 2000 ft, 14 pitches, Grade IV|
|FA:||R. Hall & J. Bede July 30, 1979|
|Page Views:||1,110 total · 19/month|
|Shared By:||Robert Hall on Dec 15, 2014|
Named for Ed Nester, a fine all-around mountaineer, who had tried the route 3 times (1968, 1972 and 1978) before losing his life on it in 1978 due to a rap-anchor failure when a refrigerator-sized block dislodged. In the Fairy Meadow logbook the 2nd ascent party call this "the finest mountaineering route in the range." 4 stars except for the two pitches above the ice gully, and possible fractured rock at the top of the gully.
Snow recession may make this route better to climb in the early season.
Description - Climb into the upper Granite Glacier and into the glacial amphitheater between the North EAST and North WEST ridges of the North Ridge of Mt Austerity.
Pitches 1-4 - The F.A. party surmounted the bergshrund a few ropelengths left (north) of the snow/ice gulley which is used to climb to the ridge. (3-5 pitches, snow/ice) [Early season probably best, here.] At the ridge find a "spacious" stance...where Julius Bede waited 3 days for a helicopter rescue in 1978 after Ed fell, pulling both ropes down with him.
Pitches 5&6 Slightly up and right, around a corner [photo] and then up a pitch or two of, easy but fractured rock to regain the ridge.
P7&8 Climb the snow arete. [Note: The photo on page 307 of David Jones' "Selkirks North" seems to show route 404 (East Face) joining just above this snow arete, it actually joins several pitches higher.]
P9-11? Climb easy (Cls 4 to 5.5 +/-) for several pitches until a very steep face is reached. [Future climbers may wish to tackle this face via the very thin crack that leads up it!]
P12- Traverse right on a "sidewalk" until one can overlook the amphitheater to the west and see a low-angled, but "bottomless", chimney system that leads back left to the crest. Climb the short wall directly above you (piton left in place) the FA party then slung a small horn and used aid to reach holds that led down and right into the base of the chimney. (Crux, 5.7 A-1, may be more serious to follow than to lead) Climb up the low angle chimney.
Pitches 13-16+/- Climb along the very easy ridge crest, passing the cairn from the 1967 F.A. of the East Face/North Ridge, and onto the summit. (Photo)
Descent- Down climb the normal route on Austerity to the Austerity-Ironman "col" (excellent bivi site) then down the normal route on the upper Granite Glacier. Ideally, one of the party should be familiar with this route.