MOUNT HORUS 2720m 8950′ The Last Egyptian Peak
Map 82K/7 Duncan Lake 260-807
Since 1991, Hamish Mutch and I have made have made a number of trips to peaks along the ridge separating the two terminal forks of Glacier Creek from Jumbo Creek, which runs from Mount Monica in the north to Bastille Mountain in the south. Most first ascents in these Egyptian Peaks were made in 1973 by Curt Wagner and John Jeglum (Canadian Alpine Journal, 1974), but new routes and especially traverses remained to be done. I should point out that none of these peaks are particularly difficult, they are fun and in a very scenic area.
After traversing Amen-Ra (1992) and Storus and Isis (1994), we put off the last and farthest south. Thoth, because it seemed less imposing. Then, about a year ago. I received a phone call from Hamie. He was a little miffed after reading an article in the 1994 Canadian Alpine Journal written by Peter Green who, in 1991, made the first ascent of Thoth with two friends and renamed it Horus. Stung, and yet this is a minor peak of only 2720 metres, we decided to visit Horus with the goal of at least being the first to have traversed all the major bumps on the ridge. And so the week before Labour Day 1997, we decided against going to Mount Tyrel I and turned our sights to the Egyptian Peaks.
On Friday evening, August 29, we drove up Glacier Creek. past the ever expanding Rainbow’s End Ranch. and pitched our tent at the junction of the North and South Fork roads. The next morning we drove down to the Jumbo Pass Trail parking area and began hiking at 7 a.m. with the intention of traversing Horns from south to north. This was to be lightweight trip: nine mm rope, handful of Friends, leather boots, rock shoes, no ice axes. Following the thoroughly grubbed out trail that had been well-worn by save-Jumbo enthusiasts a few weeks before, we reached the Jumbo Pass cabin in two hours and ten minutes. This was the weekend before the old shelter was razed, and we found it to be indeed fragile and rickety.
After a 30-minute photography break, we followed a trail north over a couple of hummocks to Mount Anubis (265-796) by 10:30. This 2576m (8450′) protuberant is little more than a bump, but it does have quite an extensive summit record going back to 1975. Beyond Anubis the trail gradually petered out, and a series of formidable-looking eruptions along the ridge ahead guarded the approach to the south side of Horus. Somewhat daunted we pressed onward, keeping to the west side and negotiating steep, grassy ledges and crumbly, slippery rock. The crux, if it can be called that, was 30 metres of eastward tilting slab with a heart-stopping run out down to Jumbo Creek. A quick inspection revealed a nice grassy crack that we sprinted up to reach more moderate terrain. Easy ledges then took us to the base of Horus’s south ridge/face, and we began to see that success was likely. From this point to the summit, we scrambled over four or five rock towers on surprisingly good rock with maybe a few class 4 moves.
Reaching the summit block at 12:45 (five hours and 45 minutes up), we found a cairn with no record. We added a note recognizing the first ascent party, checked the altimeter that read 362 metres, and lounged for 1 hour and 45 minutes in balmy weather. We decided that this was absolutely the best viewpoint in Glacier Creek. The map confirmed that we were at the apex of the whole area.
Finally at .2 p.m.. we decided to head down the north ridge, which was the route of the first ascent party. This was composed of big solid blocks that reminded us of the north ridges of Amin-Ra, Storus, and Isis. Eventually we reached a big step we couldn’t climb. We found some old blue rap sling bearing witness to another party’s decision. After an 18-metre rap, we continued down, boulder hopping to the 1493 metre col at the base of the north ridge. From there we swung southwest and traversed beneath Horus’s west face across steep grass and unconsolidated scree until we reached a burn we had seen in the morning. This turned out to be the best of a bad lot as we thrashed our way down over deadfalls and through slide alder. Still, after 30 minutes of the bad stuff, we popped out onto the South Fork road only 100 metres north of our truck.
By 5 p.m. we were back at Hamie’s Bronco for a cold drink and a chat with a Dutch couple whose VW Combi parked nearby was blasting out Classical music. On the drive out, we ran into Peter Tchir’s Blockhead Mountain party and stopped for pictures of our Egyptian Peaks glowing in the fading light.
Mount Hourus (8950′ 272.0m) S to N traverse (III S ridge is class 4; N ridge is 5) 10 hours return