Mount Sir Donald 2/2: immediately, the ridge reared back to near vertical and narrowed to the width of a knife blade. The climbing was easy and fun: enjoyable, continuous movement on sharp, blocky, and astonishingly sold quartzite. As we were climbing unroped, we were able to move efficiently, gaining elevation quickly, without stopping. Eventually, the angle of the ridge subsided, and we encountered a series of pinnacles that we had to climb either up and over (photograph) or skirt around. After this low-angled interlude, the ridge again steepened, and another thousand vertical feet brought us to the precipitous summit, where the view to the south finally opened. Before us, the vast Illecillewaet Icefield stretched out, surrounded by a ring of jagged peaks, with broken tongues of ice flowing down toward the valleys below in all directions. Beyond, ridge after icy ridge extended out to the horizon, which unfortunately wasn’t far as the air was thick with smoke, creating an ethereal scene. After savoring the sublime spectacle, we started down, carefully retracing our steps. We downclimbed the upper half of the route with a few short rappels through the toughest sections, and when we reached the lower steep section, we left the ridge and began rappelling down the West Face. 15 rappels and loads of downclimbing after leaving the summit, we reached the talus apron below the face, and started running back to our tent, as angry black clouds had just appeared through the smoky haze and were approaching rapidly. We reached the tent just as the rain drops began to fall, having completed our second of the Fifty Classic Climbs of North America.
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