Stutfield Peak

elevation: 3,450 m. height gain: 300 m. (from North Twin/Stutfield saddle)
area: Columbia Icefield,AB map 83 C/3
2012-May-13


Ref: Chic Scott's Summits and Icefields heading for stutfield
Roping back up after our descent from North Twin.
Ski mountaineering: RT 10.0 (including North Twin); 1.25 up from the NorthTwin/Stutfield Saddle. It was still early and the weather was fine, despite the wind. Following a good long break at the bottom of North Twin, we felt ready to rope up again and head towards Stutfield Peak. We were quite happy with our climb up North Twin, which had been our main goal; ascending Stutfield Peak was icing on the cake! Fab was not as enthusiastic about the side trip; he decided to wait for us at the base of the mountain. He got his shovel out to dig himself a shelter. It was very nice of him to allow Jay and I to continue with our summit pursuit! I knew it wouldn't take that long before we returned; I left an extra jacket and off we went. We skied towards the open slope between the rockbands, aiming for the fringe of the left band. We managed to avoid what seemed to be a bergschrund by skirting the rockband. We kept our skis, as we were able to maintain a slim edge in the heavily textured sastrugi. Once above the rockbands, about halfway already, the grade gradually lessens. The incredible view of North Twin and Twins Tower along the way is the highlight. Upon reaching the top of the vast mound, Mount Alberta is revealed and appears to be quite close. We took a bunch of pictures, enjoyed the sights but we didn't linger; Fab was waiting below. We felt comfortable unroping for the descent, again sticking close to our up-track. The pronounced stiff sastrugi (nearly absent on North Twin) made skiing difficult, we resorted to plowing and slide slipping. Fab was sitting in the sun, watching our 300-meter survival ski; must have looked funny! Back with Fab, we had another nice break before roping up and returning to our camp. What an excellent day!  After rehydrating, relaxing and watching the sunset over North Twin, we stepped into the Windsock Hotel for our second and last night. I slept well that night, no panic attacks!

The following morning was fantastic. We slept until the sunshine hit the tent. The wind was light as we slowly crawled out of the tent and started to boil water. We were in no hurry to move today, returning would be fast. I contemplated ascending Kitchener, perhaps we all did, but opted to restrain my will. Once all packed, we began our return stretch. Our packs were not as heavy. When we took the skins off, next to Snowdome, we executed a long traverse towards the headwall without doing a stride. Near the headwall, we unroped. The steep slope offered great skiing and the ramp below the seracs granted much excitement as chunks were falling while we skied across; felt like Russian Roulette... From there, the final crux was climbing back up the snowcoach road. I put my skis on my pack and my head down for this one! People waved from the buses passing by... On our way down to the climber's parking lot, numerous sheep greeted us; I love this place!

This trip is among the best I've done. I'll cherish those lasting memories. I'm grateful to Fab for indulging me and Jay for being such a great travelling companion. Also, many thanks to God for the countless blessings!

(Some pictures courtesy of Jay Lund)
  fab skips this one
Fab chooses to skip Stutfield Peak's side trip.
ascent slope
Stutfield's ascent slope; excuse the overexposed photos (cheap camera).
nice and easy
Nice and easy.
kitchener and snowdome
Mount Kitchener and Snowdome.
at the top
On the vast summit.
mount alberta
Mount Alberta.
north twin and twins tower
North Twin and Twins Tower.
looking back
Looking back towards the saddle.
lower east summit
The lower east summit of Stutfield.
all smiles!
Mount Columbia, South and North Twins behind me.
heading back
Heading back down.
rejoining with fab
Rejoining with Fab and returning to our camp.
contouring towards camp
Contouring the "marshmallow".
valley below
No more snow down the valley.
rest step
Rest step.
another style of rest step
Another style of rest step.
nearing our camp
Nearing our camp.
picturesque
The sun is casting shadows, it's very picturesque.
mount kitchener
Mount Kitchener.
sunset over north twin
Sunset over North Twin.
enjoying the scenery
Enjoying the scenery.
mount bryce
Last sunrays on Mount Bryce.
following morning
Out in the sun the following morning.
heading out
Heading out on the third day.
bye bye
Bye bye distant mountains!
last glimpse
Last glimpse towards South and North Twins.
contouring snowdome
Several tracks contour Snowdome.
good skiing
The skiing is good here.
runnin' the gauntlet!
Small pieces of seracs are falling as we quickly skirt by.
almost back at the terminus
Almost back at the snowcoach terminus.
walking to the truck
Walking the snowcoach road.
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