American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Ascents East of Mount McKinley

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1961

Ascents East of Mount McKinley. Late in June Ken Laufer and I, both seasonal rangers in McKinley National Park, made the third ascent of Peak 8620. (First ascent by Adams Carter and party in 1957; see A.A.J., 1958, 11:1, p. 91. Second ascent by Gene Wescott and party in 1958, who ascended the northwest ridge descended by the previous climbers.) We followed the Carter route for the most part though we reached the foot of the north ridge from the left (east) rather than the right. The snow made glacier travel hazardous. The ridge was hard ice covered with a foot of wet snow, which continuously avalanched from our steps.

In mid-July Tom Clark, three Germans and I made the first ascent of the 8400-foot peak 3/4 mile west-northwest of Scott Peak. We approached it up the main east tributary of the Sunset Glacier. Bad weather forced us to forgo our plans for Scott Peak and settle on Peak 8400 which was ascended in a blinding snow storm.

Charlie Travers and I made the first ascent of two mountains south of Polychrome Pass. We left the road near the pass and headed south up the ridge leading to Peak 7518. After ascending to this summit, we continued on to Peak 7952, traversing the ridge beyond until a large gendarme forced us to drop to the east branch of the main Toklat River. The ridge was knife-edged and very rotten, with an occasional snow crest.

On August 10 Jim Richardson and John Newman of the Bremerton McKinley party, John Thompson of Fairbanks, Travers and I again hiked up the Muldrow trough to its bend, where we camped. Next morning we crossed the black tributary glacier that enters the Muldrow just above the bend and climbed the north ridge, first up rotten rock and then hard snow, to the crest of the main ridge which divides the Muldrow from the north fork of the Eldridge. From there we climbed the 9000-foot peak whose first ascent had been made by the Carter party a month before.

Two park rangers, James W. Larson and Richard J. Stenmark, made the first ascent of Sunset Peak (7865 feet) on July 11.

Walter Grove, Wilbur’s Alpine Club

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