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North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Russell, Alaska Range

Mount Russell, Alaska Range. In late May and early June a party consisting of Gene Wescott, Buck Wilson, Bob Goodwin and Jon Gardey made an attempt on Mount Russell (11,670 feet), which is the unclimbed southwestern boundary point of McKinley Park. The group was flown from Fairbanks to an airstrip about 25 miles north of the mountain on May 28. Six days were spent relaying food and equipment up the Chedotlothna Glacier to the north base of the mountain in fine weather. From the camp at the base we carried full loads up to a high camp at about 7200 feet on the northwest side of the mountain. The route beyond this point had and was subject to considerable avalanche activity, and our plans to put a camp further up had to be abandoned. The next afternoon Goodwin and Wescott put in a route up through most of the worst avalanche area to a high point of about 7500 feet and 1 mile from the intended summit ridge, with the intention of leaving at 2 a.m. for a summit attempt. A four-day storm set in that night and put about a foot of new snow on the route and the avalanche faces above. Because of the expected arrival of our plane we were forced to leave the route even though the weather was clearing as we left. We had several bad days of weather while waiting at the strip. The group was flown out on 14 June.

Gene Wescott