American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Hubbard, Attempt on West Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

Mount Hubbard, Attempt on West Ridge. A five-man Italian expedition unsuccessfully attempted to climb the west ridge of Mount Hubbard, which rises almost 8000 feet to the summit of the peak. After being delayed by weather, they were flown from Gulkana to May Creek. On June 28 Pierluigi Bermasconi, leader, Ettore Villa and Pierluigi Airoldi were flown to the Alverstone Glacier at 7125 feet. It was not until July 1 that the weather settled enough to allow Guido Della Torre and Giuseppe Crippa to join them. In doubtful weather they immediately started for the ridge, which forks in two near its base. After a five-hour walk to reach the foot of the ridge, where they were slowed by hidden crevasses, deep snow and poor visibility, they discovered that the left fork was guarded by icefalls. They started up the right spur, climbing a steep snow slope above the bergschrund. They continued up a series of steep couloirs to the crest of the spur and then along the top of the ridge, turning gendarmes and climbing very steep snow and rock. They returned for several days, each time pushing the route higher before returning to Base Camp. After they had reached a small col some 2600 feet above the base of the ridge, they pitched a small tent, which Bermasconi and Crippa occupied on July 7. The other three joined them the next day and all climbed 1000 feet higher. During this time the weather had been poor but it now threatened to get worse and they retreated to Base Camp. A storm hit them on the 9th but they started off again on the 10th in new snow. When they reached the tent site, they found that the tent had been carried away in the wind with 100 pounds of food and supplies. They descended to Base Camp to await a plane scheduled to arrive on the 12th; in that way they could call for more food to replace what had been lost. The plane was unable because of bad weather to arrive until July 19. Having been on short rations for a week, they decided to give up the attempt.

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