American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Pinnacle Peak

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

Pinnacle Peak. Our group of fifteen traveled by bus over the White Pass-Yukon route and up the Alaska Highway to the air strip at Kluane Lake only to learn that our first objective, Mount King George, had just been climbed. We became a climbing expedition with no mountain to climb as our second chosen mountain, Mount Kennedy, had been ascended earlier. Luckily we were able to contact Brad Washburn in Whitehorse, he suggested switching to Pinnacle Peak (12,150 feet). On April 13, we were able to fly to the south arm of the Kaskawulsh Glacier. On the 15th A1 Randall and Marie Working put in a route to approximately 11,500 feet with the help of other members. The assault was called off that day at three p.m. after 1000 feet of rope had been installed on the ice face. For the next three days it stormed, but two attempts were made on the mountain, neither getting higher than 10,000 feet. On April 20 it dawned clear and cold, but with a sun dog—an omen of bad weather. However, all fifteen climbers made another attempt. Cloudy conditions continued throughout the day as climbers chipped the fixed ropes out of the crust and worked slowly upward. At five P.M. the summit ridge was reached; 1500 feet of rope had been fixed on the face. A half mile of corniced ice lay along the ridge broken by occasional crevasses and schrunds. On the right, 5000 feet directly below, lay the Lowell Glacier. The weather appeared to be worsening. A1 Randall stated that the top three teams—Ome Daiber, Ed Boulton, Dave McBrayer, Bob Booher, Arnie Bloomer and himself—would continue to climb, reconnoitering for not more than one hour. Ed Boulton volunteered to lead and help speed the ascent. The summit was reached at six o’clock. Meanwhile, all the rest of the party who had reached the top of the ice face—Marie Working, Pat Chamay, Bob Solibakke, Norm Benton, Bill Zauche, Charles Crechaw, Frances Randall, Frank Bannon and Charles DeHart—at the leader’s request, had immediately turned back down the face of the mountain. They reached the col as the storm hit. Two hours after reaching the top, it became a struggle for survival as the summit party slowly moved down the face holding onto the fixed ropes. At nine P.M. the ice-covered group reached the col and was greeted by Bill Zauche and the others who had waited in the pass. An hour later all were in camp. On the 23rd the storm abated, but the second attempt for the summit was given up. We moved down the glacier to the landing site, only to be storm-bound for another five days. On April 28, another break in the weather enabled us to fly out.

Alvin E. and Frances Randall

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