Ascending Apex Peak, 10,600 feet

The following is from the 1960s and consists of a brief letter and photographs of a climbing expedition, among some papers I came across.

From our high camp at 6500 ft on the Clemenceau Glacier with John Peck in the lead, Ise Newbury, Johne Christian and I ascended the icefall to gain the SW ridge of Apex. John Peck found an excellent route with good snow bridges over the large canvases. Crampons were used all the way up the mountain until we reached the rock.

On the ridge we dropped down slightly, turning NE eventually making two hairpin bends to attain the West facing rocky slope over which we picked our way to the summit ridge.

It was cold and breezy on the summit and propped against the cairn we munched on an early lunch thinking how lucky we were to be there despite the chilly air. We were unable to find the register but when hamish and company climbed the mountain a few days later he signed our names for us with then notation that “we could neither read nor write.”

We descended the mountain by the SE ridge to low point between Apex and Norton. We then continued South up Mr Norton with the intention o traversing the entire ridge before descending to the neve to the West and returning to camp by the glacier. However as the weather was obviously going to white us out we decided to retrace our steps to the col and then cut across to where we had attained the SW ridge of Apex in the morning. Before reaching the ridge we commented on some strange looking bird like tracks before we realized they were our crampon tracks from the morning. Camp was reached at 5pm where we lost no time in brewing up the ever welcomed pot of tea.

Helen B

PS: Copies to John Peck, Ilsa Newbury, Hohn Christian, Dear Ilsa, John and JC. That wretch Ron Mathews has asked me to write up our climb of Apex. I am afraid I did not take any notes of the actual logistics of the climb so I would be very grateful to John if you would make any alterations that are necessary. I am not certain if we did clib Norton and I have no idea of the time. Please Ilsa and JC put your bits in also.

Helen B