American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Warren T. Bleser, 1938-1973

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1974



Warren T. Bleser was a 35-year-old Seattle high-school teacher, whose main objective and passion in life was mountain climbing. For over twenty years he had spent his summers climbing in practically every mountain area in North and South America. His accomplishments on major expeditions included the first ascent of the East Buttress of Mount McKinley in 1963, the first ascent of the south ridge of Foraker in 1968, the Catenary Ridge, a new route on Mount Logan, the ascent of Alpa- mayo Norte and an attempt on the south face of Chacraraju in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru in 1971. He was the person responsible for leading twenty-three Iowa Mountaineers to the summit of Huascaran in 1969. Recently he made the third ascent of the 2000-foot-high, 55° north face of Mount Robson, possibly North America’s most difficult sustained ice climb. His ascent was the first one under hard ice conditions.

During the school year, most of his spare time was dedicated to teaching climbing and leading class climbs with University of Washington students, where he had been a climbing instructor since 1968.

The north face of the Matterhorn epitomized the type of climb and mountain Bleser loved most. It seems very likely that he and Niels-Henrik Andersen had made it to the summit, despite the severe and freak storm that engulfed them, and that they died while descending under adverse conditions.

Alex Bertulis

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