Martinello/Kay/Sinnes—Mount Bute, BC, Canada
Mt.Bute located at the heart of Bute Inlet on the central coast of B.C is a peak to been seen as it West face rises from the forest floor with such amazing beauty. When you arrive at the mouth of the Homathko River and look up at peak you get this awe of inspiration with the surroundings and the remoteness of where you are and the adventure that lies ahead.
It has been a long time dream for me but especially for Jason. He had shown me a picture about 10 years ago of this peak and we have wanted to climb this peak every since. Thanks to the Mugs Stump award and the Mountain Equipment Co-op for there help in funding this trip and made it all happened this July.
Our hearts were set on completing the whole west face from the lower buttress to the summit. Bruce Kay joined our team and we made it happen. We hit a perfect high pressure window which look like it would last for a week and we made the call to fly in there a.s.a.p. We took a flight from Squamish which was an amazing journey flying over the Coast Range to then land down on the little airstrip or road as you would call it in the Bute Inlet. Just our luck we were able to get a bump that evening from a Heli pilot whom was a friend of Jason’s to land us right beneath the route. It was great because we would be saving a lot of time and energy and would be climbing first thing the next morning. Me and Jason had been to Bute a couple year prior but got rain out and we where happy not to half to do the bushwhack in, we’d save that for the way out! That night was beautiful sleeping underneath the face looking for the line we would hope to go on. Enjoying the remoteness and incredible beauty over where we were.
Early morning coffee’s, some breakfast and away we went with day back’s, a small stove to melt water and some food to hopefully keep our energy up to succeed. All of us were hoping to get up the lower wall in one day it look like it would be about 20 to 25 pitches.
The lower first 8 pitches was slab climbing up to 5’9 with minimal gear but went smoothly and took us up into the corner which we had hope to reach. The next pitch was a beauty and I really enjoyed the lead, a double featured crack and 5’10 climbing. We had some nice climbing thus far and a little greenery to pull through with some more great adventure climbing. Pitch after pitch we worked our way up the wall and the night had arrived and our water had run out. We were hoping for some snow off one of the ledges but no luck. Darkness came so we bunker down two of us on one slopping ledge and Jason would camp above us about 15 meters on another small ledge. Bruce and I made the best of what we had and curled up in two little spots hovered over the wall. We had gone about 20 some pitches but it still look like we had a way’s to go before we would reach the top of the buttress and tower.
The night was a restless one and we were happy to see morning light, we all hoped to find water soon and find a way through the section where we had stopped. Jason opened the morning up with a great lead, an airy traverse which opens up the gateway of passage to get us into the upper last pitches. A couple more leads and Bruce broke out the magic words he had found snow, which meant water for our thirsty throats and for our dyhatrated meal of the day. Jason and I quickly made our way to the ledge where Bruce was and got down to drinking water chilling and getting food into the system. After a couple hours of recharging, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the great views, we were on our way. 30 pitches later, a couple more hours of climbing and we were there standing on top of the first lower buttress and tower. The stoke was on and smiles were glowing on us happy campers. We stood on top of the tower and gave a cheers and laughed, we were up the first half and it look like it was just going to get even better. Our eyes gazed up the upper buttress in mystery of where the route would take us. We all thought it was going to be tough getting through the first few pitches. I guess will find out first thing in the morning.
Our second bivy was a great one and we all got a good sleep, refuelled the system and had an incredible evening of majestic sunset views over of Bute inlet. A great appreciation of where we were and how spectacular this little part of the world was, wow.
The third morning was another blue bird beauty we decided to go for it today and try to reach the summit go light as possible and it worked well. The first few pitches where exciting ones and everyone did there part to get us through the amazing corners, face climbing, friction and run outs to keep it all exciting. The climbing just kept getting better and our movement up the wall was going great. We where all happy on our leads and proud of each other, it just kept our groove going strong. What a place and to be here with two great partners, our souls were glowing and so was the sky as we reach the summit at 8:30p.m that night. Eyes and smiles where spread wide we had done it, a dream come true. High fives and hugs went round, it was such a treat for all of us to look out to Waddington Range and the inlets that flow into these magnificent mountains knowing that we had reached our goal, yyyyyyeehhhhhh...
After our enjoyable time on the summit we knew we needed to get down a few pitches to where we stashed our packs and a nice ledge to spend the night. We rapped down into the dark and spent a chilly night up on the wall in company of a wall rat, how he got there who knows but he did add to the adventure, trying to eat Bruce’s climbing shoe for dinner. The night went by and morning came, another 10 or 15 pitches and we would be back to the rest of our gear. By early afternoon we had finished the raps down to where we would then scramble down and around to the lower Buttress.
Our walk down to our base camp under the lower wall was a nice one looking down into the valley, wild flowers, waterfalls and the fresh mountain air guided our way and before we knew it we where back at camp and cracking beers and giving cheers to our accomplishment. It was a full venue of adventure and we where all quite content we talked, shared and laughed about the journey we had. Looking forward to when we could do it again.
Morning came we slowly packed up and made the journey back down to the Homathko camp where we had been dropped off by the plane from Squamish. The trek back had some good excitement and crashes working our way down the valley, river crossing, alder bashing and pushing our way through the devils club. It was all so worth it and 5 hours later we were at the road, getting a pick up from Chuck and Sharron.
I want to speak about Chuck and Sharron because they are two amazing people and they give me inspiration for what they do and how they go about living. There home is in Bute Inlet they run a camp that was once a logging camp and now host a range of people coming in for a range of different activity, from fishing to sight seeing many adventures to be had. There home is beautiful and there hospitality towards us was great and with that Jason, Bruce and I would like to give a special thanks.
With our journey now complete we would like to thank everyone so much for amazing support and believing in us with out you the trip would never be the same.
The route we named The School of Rock it went at 5’11 A1 (50 pitches). And we named the tower Mt. SteffAnnie after our wives for their patience and ongoing support.
Thanks to the Mugs Stump Award, Patagonia, M.E.C and everyone that made this trip happen.
Cheers and smiles to you all.
Jimmy Martinello, Bruce Kay , Jason Sinnes