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Freedom of the Hills...

Little McDougal
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Date:                                                    January 22, 2006

Participants:                                          Solo

Distance:                                              Approximately 13.5 km

Elevation Gain:                                     Approximately 1050m

Maximum Elevation:                             2570m

Elapsed Time:                                       Estimated 5:30

Published Routes:                                 None

Published Rating:                                  None

Difficulty - Endurance:                          4.5

Difficulty - Technical:                            2.5 (Alpine 3.5)


Although this outlier of Mount McDougall, named by Bob Spirko as “Little McDougall”, was not my intended destination for the day it nevertheless served as a satisfactory summit for an easy alpine climb in late January.  My route followed the Evan Thomas Trail to the drainage south of Little McDougal then at a cairn up diagonally to the ridge on a faint trail that eventually dissipated under snow cover.  The ridge to the summit pyramid is covered in large shaky talus.  In fact the summit register revealed that a rescue was preformed near the peak due to a sprained ankle.  The talus, covered in a layer of snow and verglas was a dicey proposition.  Nevertheless I prevailed and then had to contend with the wind swept summit bump that was covered in extremely hard schnice.  I only had walking crampons with me and the ice would not take my ice axe.  So mindful of the run-out I used French technique up and down the bump.  Although not very steep, the condition of the ice rendered this a fairly risky exercise.  All in all, given the verglas, talus, ice and temperature, this trip was not well suited to a solo effort.


The talus on ascent.  The weather would soon deteriorate.


Looking back as I leave tree line.


Approaching the summit bump.


At the summit with the weather about to change.


A telephoto shot of the North face of Little McDougal taken from Old Baldy a month later.