American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, All Japan Mount McKinley Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1966

All Japan Mount McKinley Expedition. Our landing point was at 7500 feet on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Base Camp was established about six days later, on June 25, at about 11,000 feet on the east fork of the Kahiltna, just under the South Face. After a day’s reconnaissance toward Kahiltna Notch, we gave up our second alternative plan of following the Italian route. Our original plan had been to try the obscure eastern rib of the South Face, an idea we abandoned after seeing the avalanche danger. Finally we turned to the huge snow slope which ascends to the summit of the South Buttress. We started the climb at the right side of the ramp, where on June 28 we placed Camp I at 12,300 feet. We crossed the avalanche chute and climbed up the left side of the ramp to 15,000 feet, where we established Camp II on June 30. On July 1, Camp III was made on the col at 15,570 feet. The next morning, in threatening weather, we pushed on up the southeast ridge toward the 18,960-foot shoulder but at three p.m. we were forced by the increasing storm to stop at 18,000 feet, where we bivouacked until one in the morning. On July 3, Masatsugu Kajiura, Katsuhiko Kaburagi, Hisazumi Nakamura and I pushed on, leaving our leader, Dr. Yoshihito Tsukazaki, who was badly affected by the high altitude. It was a calm and clear morning. We were above a sea of clouds. Reaching the Carter Horn (20,220 feet), Kaburagi was nauseated and had to give up. At 9:20 a.m. we three stood on the summit of Mount McKinley. After sitting out the afternoon mist at 17,000 feet, we arrived back at Camp III to meet Dr. Tsukazaki at around seven o’clock. While we had been climbing, it had snowed heavily on the ramp and we had to wait for two days on the South Buttress because of avalanche danger. In continuously bad weather, we crossed the Kahiltna Glacier to try in vain to ascend the eastern icefall of Mount Foraker to reach the northeast ridge. On July 20 Don Sheldon flew us back to Talkeetna. Arthur Davidson was also with us but stomach trouble kept him from climbing above Camp I.

Shiro Nishimae, Federation of All Japan Mountaineering Unions

Note: All dates in this section refer to 1965 unless stated otherwise.

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