MOUNT NIFLHEIM 2870m 9416′
Mount Niflheim is on the west end of Stegosaurus (Thor-Niflheim) Ridge. The ridge continues WSW to Kelly Peak, forming the rim of the northwest basin or cirque that is accessible from the Rock Garden campsite.
A trail now goes into the Niflheim Cirque from the south fork of Thor Creek (see ‘Access to Niflheim Cirque’, Introduction) and gives access to Routes 1 and 2, and Mount Sigurd and Brynhild Peak.
Map 82L/9 Gates Creek.
To reach the above, climb up the ice avalanche chute (reasonably safe) at the head, southern end, of the cirque (see ‘Access to the Western Glaciers ‘, just above). There is camping in the cirque, in picturesque meadows, but bring mosquito repellent. Mount Thor and Un. (Tower Four) are also accessible from the cirque.
1. North Ridge, Traverse.
For the traverse, the party bivouacked high above the valley, and climbed the north ridge without setting foot on ice. They traversed all the summits, finding a little glacier travel on descent from Mount Thor. The rock on Stegosaurus Ridge is loose in places. Glacier (IV,5.6,s). Late August 1971.
The north ridge is a day climb, and starts with an extremely exposed knife edge. Ascend the ridge to the lower west summit, a scramble. Descend rubble to a col: three leads with some Class 5 moves on good rock lead to the summit, 8 hours from camp in the meadows. Rappel off. (III,5.4,s).
Crampons are handy in the avalanche chute.
2. Northeast Glacier, East Ridge. For access, see Kelly Peak variation, Route 1.
Drop down 300 meters from camp and gain the north ridge. From the prominent notch, reach the glacier east of the ridge (accessible from north also) by a short but very steep descent to the snow. Climb to the highest point of the NE glacier, and ascend mixed rock and snow to the summit. Ice, Glacier (III,5.7,s,*).
John Barton, Nicholas Dodge, August 1, 1973. Consult Route 5.
3. West Face, Southwest Ridge.
This complex route begins on the west flank of the northwest basin (south of the Rock Garden campsite). Climb several hundred meters of somewhat loose slabs and ledges on the west face (keeping north of the west ridge). Eventually, matters become serious. The climbing trends right, with a final long committing pitch (5.7; best feature of climb) to the craggy, exposed southwest ridge and then to the east ridge (Consult Route 4). The most difficult part is the two last pitches, to the flat part of the east ridge. The rock is good on the ridge (easy to moderate), but not so good on the lower part. The rock is generally sound, though friable at times, and sometimes gives problems with protection. (III,5.7,s). Fred Beckey, Keith Hertel, Gary Speer, July 24, 1987. Consult Route 4.
4. Southwest Ridge. Gain the Niflheim-Un. 2670m ridge from a helicopter camp (205045) south of Brynhild Peak. The landing site is marginal; the tent site was excavated in an old goat wallow.
Rope up when on Niflheim and climb 12 roped pitches to the top, quite sustained except for the last 4 pitches. Climb down the easier rock to descend, and then make two 50 meter rappels down a concave part of the face west of the route, to a prominent fault which rises to the col between Niflheim and its west summit. (III, 5.7,**).
Steve Horvath, Hamish Mutch, July 24, 1994.
Beckey’s route (#3) follows close to the rappel route left (west) of the southwest ridge (in gullies). It crosses Route 4 and gains the flat part of the east ridge near the summit (most difficult part of climb is the last two rope lengths below the east ridge).
The rappel route lies above the change in angle of the prominent fault that runs up the wall from the northwest basin.
5. East Ridge. Descended by the 1971 party. When approached from a helicopter camp on the south side of Brynhild Peak (see Routes 2, 4, Un. 2670m and the list of campsites), use a steep snow-filled couloir (two large chockstones, short rappels on descent). The base of the east ridge is a cliff. From the col between Niflheim and Brynhild Peak, descend about 30 meters to a steep ramp to the north with a good crack in its middle (5.4) and climb to the glacier on the north side. Then two pitches on the north side (up to 5.7) exit to the upper ridge. Follow the east ridge proper, steep, narrow and solid. The final section is a flat, level walk on the ridge, 11.5 meters wide, reaching the summit tower. The first four pitches and the last have moves to Class 5.7, twelve pitches in all. Protection is good.
On descent (few short rappels) there are two spectacular 50 meter rappels to the col. (III,5.7,s,**).
Steve Horvath, Hamish Mutch, July 29, 1994.