Hunter and Foraker

United States, Alaska, Alaska Range
Climb Year: 1966. Publication Year: 1967.

Our expedition was organized by the Japanese Alpine Club, Student Section. The six members were Yasuhiko Iso, Takeshi Ogawa, Kazuya Murayama, Yasuo Kubota, Yuuzo Samura and myself as leader. We wanted to climb Hunter’s east ridge from the Tokositna Glacier but gave up the idea. The landing place looked difficult and it would have been hard to walk down the icefall between Hunter and Huntington; the walk out was important to us. So we changed to the west side. Base Camp was established on the Kahiltna Glacier at 6750 feet on June 3. We placed Camp I at 9000 feet at the foot of a rock pinnacle and Camp II on the col at 9400 feet. After fixing rope on the rock ridge and steep ice to 11,000 feet, we pushed on and stood on the summit of the north peak (14,570 feet) on June 20 and bivouacked on the plateau. (First ascent by Beckey, Harrer, Meybohm, 1954; see A.A.J., 1955, 9:2, pp. 39-50. Second ascent by Choate, Hoeman, Johnston, 1963; see A.A.J., 1964, 14:1, pp. 56-9.) We returned to Base Camp on June 25. We suffered from melting snow, especially below 10,000 feet.

We turned to Mount Foraker, ascended the eastern icefall and reached the northeast ridge and got to the summit (17,400 feet) via this ridge. This is the third ascent of this mountain too and a new route. (First ascent by Brown, Houston, Waterston, 1934, from west; see A.A.J., 1935, 2:3, pp. 285-297. Second ascent by Duenwald, Richardson, 1963, by southeast ridge; see A.A.J., 1964, 14:1, pp. 52-55.) On June 28 we moved camp to the foot of the icefall at 7000 feet. After a day’s reconnaissance we broke through this rough icefall, from the top of which we turned to the right to the sharp snow ridge which ascends to the northeast ridge. We climbed this knife-edge to 9600 feet, where on June 30 we established Camp I. In continuously bad weather we reached the northeast ridge and made Camp II at 11,550 feet at the col, where we had to halt for three days. On July 7 we left camp at one a.m. and climbed the moderate northeast ridge until at nine o’clock Iso, Samura and I stood on the summit in a strong wind. On the descent we sat out a white-out at 16,400 feet — the ridge is an extensive slope — and got back to Camp II at 3:50, after an ascent of nearly 6000 feet in one day. We withdrew our camps in heavy snowfall and found that while we had been climbing, the condition of the icefall had changed very much. We came back to Base Camp in terror of avalanches and falling séracs. It had snowed every day from July 1 to July 12. We walked down the Kahiltna Glacier to Talkeetna in a week.

Hideo Nishigori, Gakushuin Alpine Club