American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, U.S., Alaska, First Ascent of Mt. Drum

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1955

First Ascent of Mt. Drum. On June 4, 1954, the bush pilot, Herb Haley, flew Keith Hart from Chitna to a little meadow, southwest of Mt. Drum (12,002 feet), a place which Keith knew from a previous unsuccessful attempt on the mountain. George Schaller and I were picked up by the pilot at Copper Center and flown, in only ten minutes flying time, to the same meadow. On the same day we packed for about seven hours across the tundra of the foothills. The next day, after traversing a large glacier, we followed a ridge to about 6000 feet, where we camped. On June 6th we ascended snow and ice on the left of the ridge to a big snowfield at about 8,500 feet, where we made our final camp. On the following day, after traversing about 100 yards to the right, we kept straight up through knee-deep snow to the summit. The crevasses were well bridged and obvious. Only one slope had dangerous snow and was steep. Three rope lengths from the top we took to a beautiful ridge and reached the summit after a total of five hours from camp. The weather was beautiful, although Sanford was obscured in clouds. The descent was uneventful, and we went far enough on the same day to be clear of the snow and ice. On the whole, the climb was easy. The three former parties which had attempted the mountain had not chosen the right route and were hindered by bad weather.

Heinrich Harrer

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