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North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Hess

Mount Hess. The Tokyo University Alaska Expedition consisted of Junji Nakamura, leader, Yoshiharu Mikami, Seiji Okai, Naoyuki Morita, Tadao Inagaki, Osamu Mutsuda, Takashi Hongi and Katsuhiko Denda. On June 18 all members entered the West Fork Glacier and established Base Camp at 6100 feet. After two days of reconnaissance, on June 21 avoiding hidden crevasses, they reached the upper part of the glacier and established Camp I. They later continued up a 40° slope and the last ice wall to the col between Deborah and Hess, on which they pitched Camp II (10,000 feet). On July 4 Matsuda and Hongi, who had been preparing the route, left Camp II at 9:50 a.m. and managed to get to the top of Hess (12,030 feet) at 11:45 p.m. after 14 hours of hard struggle. On the 5th Inagaki and Denda left Camp I and made a new route via the north side of Hess South 3 and a col between Hess South 1 and 2 as far as Hess 1, bivouacking on the way. For lack of time to go on, they returned to Camp II. Also on the 5th the main party of Nakamura, Mikami, Okai and Morita left Camp II for the main peak, crossing Hess West 1 and reaching the col beyond, but an oncoming blizzard forced them to retreat as far as Camp II. On the 12th all assembled without incident at Base Camp. On July 23 they were flown by Piper to Gulkana. Their second aim of climbing Mount Hayes was prevented by bad weather and they decided to make two or three small parties. The party which went to the Eklutna Glacier in the Chugach Mountains had good weather when ascending but after a week of bad weather they began to descend. Unfortunately a slip occurred and Morita and Inagaki were severely injured. (For a full account see Accidents in North American Mountaineering, 1968.—Editor.) I do not know about the other small parties’ activities but they are unimportant from the mountaineering point of view.

Ichiro Yoshizawa, Japanese Alpine Club