Correction to Secor, Mount Haeckel

by Phyllis Olrich
Alternating between rock and snow along the way, we reached the saddle between Haeckel and Wallace. It was there that we put our crampons away for the rest of the day. You can see Haeckel from as far away as Sabrina, and it looks intimidatingly steep from a distance. But from the saddle it now looked do-able.

We followed the class 3 South Ridge route. Tongues of snow came up high from the glacier below, preventing us from following continuously the "system of easy class 3 ledges leading to the summit block" mentioned in Secor (not so easy for me, RJ). One snow crossing was particularly airy and steep - as each of us crossed, ice ax securely planted, the others would watch and wait with apprehension. For the most part, you are dealing with good solid granite here. One of our party wasn't quite up to the climb, so he remained waiting on a ledge. This actually proved to be quite helpful - he had a good vantage point and helped us by yelling directions from afar. The acoustics must have been very good, because he said later he could hear us discussing the route amongst ourselves.

Things got very tricky near the top. We tried different approaches but were turned back several times by shear drop-offs or other impossible-looking moves. It seemed that all the advice we had received from other PCS members was almost useless to us now (what obvious chute to the right?) I was ready to bag it several times, but Cecil, our most experienced member, pressed on and eventually we heard her whooping in triumph on the summit. Rounding a corner, the sight of Cecil sitting up there was enough to inspire us to finish those last few airy moves. (A warning to anyone who climbs with Cecil in the future - if you hear her say "Cool!" while scouting a route, watch out! )

The information in these pages is provided by interested volunteers and has not been field checked. R.J. Secor, The Mountaineers and the Sierra Club are in no way responsible for the accuracy of any route advice on this web site. Safe climbers must be able to understand the terrain and topography of the area they travel in, and they must make wise route finding choices based on their own knowledge, experience and observations.