Peak(s):  Bancroft, Mt  -  13,250 feet
Date Posted:  07/11/2019
Date Climbed:   07/07/2019
Author:  vertigo
 East Ridge, Double V Couloir Variation  

Over the fourth of July weekend we did a variation on the East Ridge of Bancroft that I’ve never seen documented so I thought I would put it out there. On Friday afternoon I had hiked to the notch on Bancroft but turned around due to lack of rope and downclimbing skills (and the fact that it was 3 pm). I noticed a number of interesting looking couloirs on the north side of the ridge. I had never seen significant information on these but I was amazed at the general firmness of the snow in the area so I thought they might be possible. Having already arranged with a climbing partner to do some sort of scramble or couloir climb on the coming Sunday, I mentioned this as an option and he was up for it. I apologize for the lack of photos--I was focused on taking video and wasn’t thinking about documenting it for a trip report. The route is pretty obvious.

Our going-in plan was to hike to the north side of the east ridge, assess the situation, possibly climb a couloir ending somewhere on the east ridge, and then continue on the ridge. We brought a 70m rope, anchor material, and pro with the expectation that we may end up rappelling the notch and almost certainly climbing out of the notch.

Most of the East Ridge is well documented so I’ll elide the redundant details but we started at 6:15 am at the first gate and hiked to Loch Lomond. We headed up to the left of the rocky face on the northwest side of Loch Lomond to ultimately find our way to the north side of the east ridge of Bancroft. Given the snow covering the trail, we probably didn’t take the most direct route at first but we did end up finding the trail to Reynolds Lake.

Loch Lomond with approximate route in red.

We crossed the small dam on Reynolds Lake and headed between Reynolds Lake and Steuart Lake in a generally west direction. On one of my GPS maps, Reynolds was marked as Stewart lake and Steuart Lake was un-named so be aware of that. Anyway we headed between the two lakes and toward Ohman Lake (seems to be agreement on that name), where the couloir starts.

View of part of the couloir from Reynolds lake

Route we took is in red (dotted where hidden by rock). The right branch is in blue. Left branch is hidden by rocks but starts below the right branch.

We reached a point about 100 m due south of Ohman Lake stopping to put on crampons, helmet, and get out the ice axes before heading to the base of the couloir, which I am dubbing the Double V Couloir unless someone knows of a previous name. Once we reached the base of the couloir it was clear that there were three branches all three of which seemed climbable with the difficulty appearing to increase from left to right, although the tops of the left and right branches were less visible. Given the fact that we had no beta on this couloir, we spent a good amount of time discussing whether this was a bad idea, if there was anything that we were missing from a risk perspective, etc. The assessment was that the middle branch went to the top and seemed like a good option, that the snow seemed firm, no cornices were present, and we should be able to make it. At that point I was convinced that we would end up in the notch.

We started up the couloir at 8 am and the snow was generally very firm with only a half dozen or so postholes randomly thrown in. The couloir was moderately steep with no issues exiting.

Once we got to the top we found that we were just past the notch and at the base of the “second crux wall” as has been described in other trip reports. The right hand branch of the couloir would take you past the second crux wall. I don’t know where the left branch would lead but I suspect it ends in the notch.

From there it was the normal East Ridge of Bancroft route, well documented in many other places, with a descent down the southeast ridge and back to the car, which we reached at 1 pm.

Overall a pretty interesting combo couloir climb and scramble. With the huge snow year, the “Double V Couloir” may not normally be climbable but we were happy to take advantage.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3

 Comments or Questions
Some experience there...
07/12/2019 08:59
I descended that couloir in winter after bailing off the East Ridge once many years ago. A fun area for sure, nice report.


   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2020®, 14ers Inc.