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North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Hayes, Second Ascent by New Route, the East Ridge

Mount Hayes, Second Ascent by New Route, the East Ridge. After three smooth flights, Dan Osborne, leader, Mark Hottmann,Tom Hillis and I lay ready on the westernmost fork of the Trident Glacier at 6000 feet. We moved camp the next day to a ramp leading to the east ridge of Mount Hayes. When we reached the base of the ramp at 7000 feet, a storm had taken over. High winds left no alternative but to dig a snow cave. In somewhat better weather the next day, the first loads were carried up the ramp and cached at the halfway point. As the storm continued and drifted in the entrance of the snow cave, we had several close escapes from suffocation. The ramp was technically not difficult but proved time-consuming. Eventually we had a third camp placed on the lee side of its summit, which we named “Levi’s Bump.” Osborne and I pushed the route ahead from there. The ridge averaged 45° and rose from 9900 feet at Levi’s Bump to the 13,832-foot summit of Hayes with a dip of 300 feet in-between. It was mostly hard-packed snow with few obstacles. A bergschrund an hour out of camp presented a small vertical wall requiring a fixed rope. Then followed a much larger ice wall, where we chopped steps and fixed 200 feet of rope. Hottmann and Hillis attacked the ridge the next day. By late morning they were well above the second fixed rope and into a very broken section which finally baffled them. We two returned the following day and skirted the area which had given them so much trouble. To the left we found an ice wall of at least 50°. The 150-foot pitch of blue ice hung 4500 feet above the Trident Glacier. We securely anchored 200 feet of rope with two four-foot pickets. That evening as we came down the ridge, a storm began brewing. By late morning on May 21 the weather again permitted climbing. Hottmann and Hillis had soon passed the highest fixed rope. From there to 13,000 feet, the ridge presented 1000 feet of hard snow with only minor obstacles. Then a bit of steep ice demanded careful foot placement. After that they had only exhaustion and altitude to contend with before they reached the summit at 1:45 A.M. Osborne and I were preparing to set out when they returned seventeen hours after their departure. Our attempt failed in a white-out.

JAMES A. BRADY, Alaska Alpine Club