|This is where Dan and Sonny decided to abort the climb and retreat.|
On the evening of 24 July 1998, we drove out to Waterfowl Lakes campground and managed to get a walk-in tent site. At 6:00 AM the next morning (25 July 1998), we left the campground and hiked to Chephren Lake. The bushwhack around the lake was still tedious, but it was a lot more tolerable with just daypacks. By 8:00 AM, we were around the lake and beginning our long ascent. It was a warm day, and halfway up the south slope, we were beginning to feel the heat bearing down on us. I was slowing to a crawl, but more alarmingly, I was quickly running out of water. Luckily, there were some lingering snow patches higher up, and I was able to collect enough meltwater to sustain me for the rest of the day. We eventually scrambled through the upper rock bands and contoured around the shoulder to see the White Pyramid-Chephren col, but it was disheartening to realize that we still had a fair bit of climbing left to do. Choosing the more direct route as described by Alan Kane, we scrambled up a narrow chute, and soon after, I sat down on a rock and fell asleep. I probably dozed for about 10 minutes before waking and finding that Dan hadn't gotten much further ahead of me. Slightly refreshed, I caught up to Dan, and we both finally reached the summit at about 3:00 PM. Dan and I were obviously tired, but we were not done suffering yet.
On our descent, I had a mishap near the shoulder when I inadvertently stepped on some scree covering a sheet of ice. I slid about 10 metres and briefly imagined that this would be my demise. I escaped with only a few nasty scrapes, but I realized that my exhaustion was causing me to lose my focus. Later on, I was confused about which gully we had come up on the ascent. Luckily, Dan's memory was better than mine, and he directed me to the correct gully. The rest of the descent was straightforward but long. By the time we reached the lake, I was already well beyond the point of physical and mental exhaustion. My body and mind were simply numb. Somehow, I managed to endure a last tortuous thrash around the lake followed by a seemingly interminable hike back to the campground. We staggered back to our campsite at about 11:00 PM. While Dan stayed up for a bit to have something to eat, I simply crawled into the tent, dropped face down on top of my sleeping bag, and had the best sleep in my life ever.
|This is the view of White Pyramid and Mount Chephren from the southwest shore of Chephren Lake.|
|Dan begins the climb in earnest by following the crest of the lateral moraine.|
|The warm temperatures prompt Dan to take a much needed break. Howse Peak is at left.|
|Despite the rising heat, Dan continues to climb higher.|
|Dan staggers along the summit ridge.|
|After nine exhausting hours, Dan finally reaches the 3266-metre summit of Mount Chephren.|
|Sonny raises his weary arms in triumph at the summit.|
|Lower Waterfowl Lake is about a vertical mile below the cornice in the foreground.|
|The next day (26 July 1998), Dan pokes at the summit of Mount Chephren from Bow Pass.|