Dear Alpine Mentors Community,
We regret that we have to report the tragic loss of one of our loved Alpine Mentors-AAC Pacific Northwest family members. At approximately 3:00 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 24, Laurel Fan (34) fell while ascending Serra 2 in the Waddington Range of British Columbia.
Our Alpine Mentors community is very small, and we are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy. Our hearts are with Laurel’s friends and family.
We are grateful that the two surviving party members were able to draw upon their experience and competence to execute what was a difficult descent after losing one member of their team and a good part of the equipment that climber was carrying.
We are truly saddned and will keep Laurel in our hearts forever.
Steve, Eva and the entire Alpine Mentors family
1-10-16 Source Lake area, Alpental
There we were in thick fog, trying to find a thin, mixed route that had not been climbed before. We were lucky to find the start after wandering back and forth in the deep, and steep snow. I figured it would be a 2 pitch affair, so I asked Laurel to lead the first. (p1)She had a real treat going up the thin mixed corner on cams, pitons, and a screw. After 20 meters she stopped at an offwidth crack. I would recommend to future parties to finish the 1st pitch with the wide crack, so as not to (possibly lead fall, and) land on your belayer. There is a fixed pin there now just above where she belayed from and no wide gear is needed with the gear found in the chockstones deep in this classic section. (p2)After grunting up the short wide crack, I pushed the belay up to a place where one could watch the leader for the last pitch. Once again Laurel was game to swap leads, and get after the steep finish! (p3)Thin, rotten ice led around the detached ice candle. She opted to do an exciting mixed finish to the right rather than try to campus up the rotten candle. What an effort she paid, right up to the finish, where she came off before she could grab the M5+ tree limb at the very top! After regaining the overhanging block, she then pulled to the top of her first, first ascent. Nice work, Laurel! The Alpine Mentors are proud of you.
I had been eyeing this line during many prior visits to the Alpental Valley. We in Seattle are lucky to have fairly reliable ice venues so close to town. Its nice to be one hour away from such fun.
Specifics: “The Circumvention”, aka. Fan-Wallace is located above Source Lake area, on Bryant Buttress. To the right of Flow Reversal, and Resistance Is Futile, yet left of where people skin up to Chair Peak. Best approached from the Flow Reversal area, up and right, reaching a sweet thin gully with turf hooks and thin ice. When it gets steep, there could be an exciting direct finish to the pitch, or the obvious off-width crack to the left. We did it in 3 short pitches, but best to do it in 2. Move the belay high enough to see the leader either finish on the ice daggers, or the exciting “Fan” finish to the steep ramp up and right. 2-60m ropes just reach the bottom in 1 rap. Pins, stoppers,cams, screws and specters are all handy.
Other Snoqualmie Fun:
Gallery, click to enlarge, some photos by Laurel.