Saturday, October  19, 2019
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On the edge of the Neve
The Garibaldi Neve
Our route
Cottony softness below
The ascent up the lower angle portion of the Bishop Glacier went well. It was steeper than the Diamond Glacier, and more crevassed, but conditions were still pretty easy. The morning weather continued to be perfect - it was crystal clear where we were, and there was still a scenic blanket of clouds down below, although we could see it starting to break up.

Avoiding crevasses and staying away from the path of potential rockfall and ice seracs, we made our way to the right part of the Bishop Glacier's headwall. The bergshrund was not yet fully opened, and there was easy access to the snowslope above. Its angle seemed fairly steep, I'd say around 47 degrees. We elected to get out the pickets and simul-climb, putting our 5 pickets in on the way up.

We chose to climb the snowslope at a diagonal angle, to reduce the effort of the climb. The only extra risk with this option was that we passed directly underneath a crumbly tower of rock that looked like it might shed a few bombs on us. Fortunately, there was only one rock that came down the entire time, but even that was a bit unnerving. We decided it might be better to avoid this diagonal traverse on the way down and minimize our rockfall chances.

The climb up the steep snow was tiring - especially so for me due to being in the lead and kicking steps, and due to the fact that I'd only had a handful of peanut M&Ms since starting at 3AM (it was now about 11am). I had forgotten a cardinal rule of mountaineering - fuel the fire! I made a mental note to ingest a good quantity of calories at the top of the slope.
Looking up to the steep part
Bishop Glacier Ice Cliff
Summit Plateau
After what seemed (correction, what _was_) a very long time, we arrived onto the flat upper plateau on Garibaldi. The Cheekeye Glacier occupies this flat area, and its gentle grade was welcome after the steep snowslope. The day's heat had grown some higher, puffier and sometimes dark-looking cumulus clouds, and much of the surround landscape was obscured from us. Atwell peak looked positively evil to the south: steep, forbidding, and with wisps of dark looking mists swirling around it. The ridge leading to its summit looked quite treacherous.

Fortunately, though, that was not where we were going! In the other direction rose an assymetrical rounded tower - the true summit of Garibaldi. The left side looked much less steep than the right side, and it was to this side that we aimed.
The Summit Tower
Cheekeye and Squamish
Lunch on the Cheekeye
On the flats of the Cheekeye Glacier, not far from the base of the summit tower, we stopped for lunch. I made sure that I ate properly this time!

The summit tower didn't look too tall from this angle, and we could see a plausible ascent route up a shallow, narrowing gully. But... it looked incredibly loose. That alone made me a bit nervous about climbing it. We'd see what it was like when we got right up to its base.
Summit tower climbing route
Summit Ridge
Victory is near
Leaving our packs down on the glacier, we made our way over to the base of the summit tower. We chose to stay roped up while climbing on the tower: I'd go first, ascend to a reasonable belay stance, and sitting-hip belay up Jenn and Sara. If we were lucky, there might actually be a horn of rock that would be useable as an anchor.

The ascent was indeed an exercise in resolve and finesse. It was key not to apply too much force on anything, or it would all start to slide down the face. Jenn and Sara stayed well out of the fall line as I gingerly made my way up to the first "belay stance", which wasn't more than a flatter area amongst loose plates of rock.

The middle part of the ascent was steeper, and it felt more exposed. However, along with the increased steepness came rock that was a little more sound. Again, I carefully led up to a better belay stance (in fact, there was an old rappel sling at this point), and I again belayed up Sara and Jenn. From this point, it was a short and relatively easy scramble up another few 10s of feet to the summit ridge of the tower. The climb up had gone without incident, but it was so loose, we were a bit apprehensive about downclimbing it.

We could see down the other side of the tower, and I saw twin sets of footprints leading up from the steep snowfields to north. Could this have been Chris and his English companion?
The Table
Sara makes it!
Jenn and Andrew on summit
After belaying Jenn and Sara up to the top of the ridge, it was a 30 second walk to the scenic and airy summit. The views in all directions were excellent, although somewhat obscured by the midday cumulus clouds. The impressive flat-topped Table dominated the view to the north, along with turquoise-green Garibaldi Lake. Beautiful mountains lay everywhere, in all directions.

We took obligatory summit photos, and signed the summit log. The entry before us in the log, dated two and one half hours before us, was indeed Chris Lawrence and his client! We had missed them by just over two hours! Chris had camped on the other side of Garibaldi, much closer than we had, and had taken much less time to reach the summit. We left an appropriately humourous note, took a few more pictures, and then prepared to head down. We wanted to get the downclimb of the treacherous, loose summit overwith as soon as possible.
Summit self-portrait
Hey... we know that guy!!
A long, crumbly way down
Jenn and Sara went down ahead, with myself providing a belay to both of them. I'd then downclimb behind them and we'd repeat the process. The descent went better than I had feared, and we were back down on the Cheekeye glacier in relatively short time. We roped up, spread ourselves out, and started to backtrack, heading for the Bishop Glacier headwall.
Squamish through the clouds
Walk through the clouds
Clearing up on way down
We decided to take a slightly steeper but less rockfall-prone route on the descent of the headwall. We again placed protection and simul-climbed. The snow was still in good shape and not too soft, so there were no worries there. Progress was very slow, though, because we did the entire slope face-in.
Over the edge
Sara's around the corner
My view for too long!
Opal Cone
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