North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Fairweather, Attempt

Publication Year: 1970.

Mount Fairweather, Attempt. The Chukyo (another name for Nagoya) Alpine Club sent Susumu Kosaka, leader, Yoshikazu Sakai, Kunio Kanno, Shuji Fukamizu and Kenji Nishi to Alaska. They were flown to Lituya Bay from Juneau on June 6. Two of the party continued flying to make an aerial reconnaissance and an airdrop. A preliminary camp was set up that day on the coast of the Pacific, another the next day at Cape Fairweather and a third at the end of the moraine on June 8. On June 9 they got through the lower crevassed area in three hours and met with the demon Desolation Valley. The first icefall, which embarrassed the Canadian party in 1958, appeared and they camped at the end of the rock ridge on the south side. On the 10th Base Camp was established at the northern end of a ridge that descends from “Mount Sabine”. They collected the airdrop there. On the 13th they found the second icefall impossible and so they climbed along the end of the north ridge. They found the Canadian Base Camp and established their Camp I. On June 14 they gave up the south ridge, because the lowest end was a nest of avalanches. They determined to follow the Canadian route. (See A.A.J., 1959, 11:2, pp. 297-8.) After climbing séracs, bergschrunds and rock slabs on the 16th, it began to rain at 7000 feet and they pitched Camp II. Kanno, Sakai and Fukamizu left on June 18 on a summit attempt, which would involve several bivouacs. On the afternoon of the 20th they descended into the col between the southeast shoulder and the main peak. For a while gentle climbing continued but suddently at 14,300 feet a perpendicular ice wall appeared and they tried to turn it on the left. This wall was covered by thumb-sized ice crystals. When a climber broke out of his steps, they gave up and returned to the col where they passed the night, sleepless, in extreme cold. With one more bivouac they returned in bad weather to Camp II on June 22. From Base Camp on June 27 Fukamizu and Nishi started for the west peak of “Mount Sabine”. They reached in two hours the bottom of a couloir, which extended to the west ridge. From 3500 to 6000 feet they climbed pleasant hard snow. From there they climbed the rotten-rock ridge to bivouac at 8500 feet. The next morning they climbed both on the north and south sides of the ridge to reach the west peak at 8:05. It was 9800 feet by their altimeter.

ICHIRO Yoshizawa, Japanese Alpine Club and A.A.C.