American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Attempt on the East Buttress of Mount McKinley

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1957

Attempt on the East Buttress of Mount McKinley. A four-man party (Walter Gonnason, Otto Trott, Paul Gerstmann, Bruce Gilbert) attempted the ascent of the east buttress of Mount McKinley during late July, 1956. Don Sheldon of Talkeetna landed them in his ski-wheeled Super Cub at 5500 feet on the southwest side of Ruth Amphitheater. They climbed a fork of Ruth Glacier to an altitude of 7700 feet right at the foot of the east buttress, where they received an additional airdrop. After establishing three camps above their airdrop site, they reached 11,400 feet on the crest of the ridge separating the Traleika and Ruth glaciers. They abandoned the attempt on July 27 after encountering conditions of extreme cornicing about their final (11,400-foot) camp. They returned to their 7700- foot cache and were flown out from this spot in relays by Don Sheldon after spending just two weeks on the mountain.

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