Elevation Gain: 2,186m
Total Time: 3 days
Date: July 31st, 2022
Stats include all days in the Vayu Massif area
Vayu E1 is a smaller neighbor to Mount Vayu easily accessed via the south col. While the peak doesn’t have it’s own official name, it does possess ~176m of prominence and so that makes it eligible for official status in my opinion. After ascending Mount Vayu NW Ridge, Elise, Derek and myself were preparing to descend Mount Vayu’s tame northern slopes to regain the Pancake Glacier. Since we still had a lot of time left in the day, we figured we might as well hike up to the top of Vayu E1 and at least get some different views.
From the Mount Vayu summit, we scrambled down a short section of talus and then stopped at the top of a snow pitch that ran about half way down the north slopes. All of us donned cramp ons for precaution, but the snow was in great shape and there wasn’t too much concern. It was a short plod down to the dry rocks near the col and we ditched the crampons again. Now we descended a bit further to the col proper and then ditched everything except a hiking pole each.
Vayu E1’s slopes presented class 1 or 2 terrain at most and that just meant a simple hike up to the top. It probably took us 20 minutes in total to reach the summit, but it was very much worth it. At the top we had closer views of Frostfiend and a nice overview of the Pancake Glacier as well as Vayu’s impressive North face. It was getting quite gusty at the top so we headed down after a few photos and simply reversed our tracks down to the col.
Next was figuring out how to bridge the moat between the col and the Pancake Glacier. Derek spotted a small section that was still crossable and so we slid down a short dirt slope and then jumped on to the snow. Now there was one steep roll before the slope mellowed out. I assessed that the snow was soft for kicking steps and that a worst case run out meant sliding to the tame glacier floor below. As a result, I didn’t bother with cramps on and just faced in for a few meters before heel stepping and boot skiing the remainder of the way down. Elise and Derek joined up shortly after and then we walked the remaining way back to camp.
All in all an amazing day in the alpine. Mount Vayu was undoubtedly the highlight, but adding on Vayu E1 is worth the extra 30 minutes for sure.