American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, First Ascent of Mount Queen Mary, Seattle Mountaineers St. Elias Range Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1962

First Ascent of Mount Queen Mary. Seattle Mountaineers St. Elias Range Expedition. A party of Seattle Mountaineers explored a previously unvisited region of the St. Elias Range between June 17 and July 3. Four different groups attempted climbs in different areas with a common base of operations. The principal objectives were King George (12,300 feet), Queen Mary (13,000 feet), and mountains south and east of them. Bush pilots Ron Hayes and George Kitchen flew us from the airstrip at Kluane Lake and landed us at the head of the southernmost of the tributaries of the Kaskawulsh Glacier. There, some four miles from the glacier’s junction with the Hubbard, Base Camp was established with radio and first-aid supplies. As soon as possible the parties were organized and on their respective ways. Although widely separated, all experienced a certain amount of unfavorable weather. This took the form of snowfall for all except the King George group, which encountered rain and conditions that were generally too warm for snow and ice work. They reported a low of 13°, with an average low of 30° and an average diurnal high of 65°-70°. With the exception of this party’s difficulties, weather can not be said to have been any real problem. Specific accomplishments are as follows: Group I, led by Ann Hughes and including Dwight Hughes, Stella Degenhardt, Gene Dodson, Ken Davis, Art Nation and Leon Israel, ascended Queen Mary, reaching the summit at midnight, June 20. Some days later saw them on the summit of the "Gnurdelhorn,” a 9500-foot peak about two miles north of the top of Queen Mary (60°39´25? N. Lat., 139°45´ W. Long.) Group II, led by Lex Maxwell and consisting of Ralph Uber, Bob McCall, Bruce Gilbert, Dick Curran and me, attempted King George by the east and southeast ridges. Neither route would go because of avalanche danger, very soft snow and impassable crevasses. Group III, in which Vic Josendahl led Irena and John Meulemans, Robert Booher and Leigh Clark, successfully made the ascent of "Kaslohub” (named for its proximity to the Kaskawulsh, Lowell and Hubbard Glaciers; 12,200 feet; 60°27´20? N. Lat., 139°13´ W. Long.). This party also climbed a 10,500-foot peak some four miles north of "Kaslohub” (60°30´ N. Lat., 139°12´30? W. Long.). Group IV, with Frank Fickeisen leader and including Harold Williams, Donald C. Johnson, Hans Zogg, Robert Martin and Ron Priebe climbed "Le Célibataire’’ (11,500 feet), about four miles north of Pinnacle Peak (60°30´30? N. Lat., 138°59´30? W. Long.). They also climbed "Bellevue,” 4½) miles east-southeast of Pinnacle (11,200 feet; 60°26´35? N. Lat., 139°6´30? W. Long.).

James R. Kurtz

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