Massive Solo: Two Routes on Slesse in a Day


Slesse Mountain in southern British Columbia, showing the Northeast Buttress (yellow/green), North Rib (red), descent route (blue). Photo courtesy of Colin Haley / Marc-Andre Leclerc

8/3/13 - Young Squamish climber Marc-Andre Leclerc has pulled off a solo link-up of the two classic routes on the north side of Slesse Mountain in British Columbia, adding up to more than 6,000 feet of technical alpine rock, plus extensive hiking, down-climbing, and dangerous glacier travel. Slesse is a formidable peak just north of the U.S.-Canada border, and climbing it usually requires a two- to three-day round trip, unless you use a helicopter to shortern the approach or descent.

After a bus/hitchhiking/helpful-ride-from-Mom journey from Squamish, Leclerc began the approach just before midnight. Once directly below the peak, he took a catnap until first light and then completed the ice- and rockfall-threatened approach to the Northeast Buttress (5.9+), which he soloed in about two hours of continuous rock climbing. After negotiating the Crossover descent route, he made his way to the North Rib (5.9). Leclerc had climbed the North Rib with a friend about a week earlier to familiarize himself with the route and the descent, and now he repeated his steps up this sustained climb to Slesse's summit. After another long downclimb, he was back to the road by about 9 p.m., where he crashed until morning.

Leclerc has written a heartfelt and amusing blog post about this remarkable wilderness adventure that provides many more details and is a must-read for fans of the North Cascades.

Date of ascent: July 2013