American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Pinnacle Peak

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1975

Pinnacle Peak. Harry Bowron, Hugh Ewing, Kirk Keogh and I were landed in early May on the glacier below the northeast face of Pinnacle Peak (12,184 feet). Our objective was the first ascent of the east ridge, which we climbed in two weeks, after fixing 1600 feet of rope along the ridge, moving camp, retrieving the rope, fixing again and then pushing for the summit. The main difficulties were rotten rock and unconsolidated steep snow over rock sections, where we had delicate climbing with poor protection. We had to work for it right to the summit. Two rope teams made the summit on two separate days. Having planned on twice that time, we next climbed the west ridge, where the first ascent had taken place. We found ropes which the original party had fixed up ice slopes, but a coating of snow greatly facilitated our progress. Harry Bowron and I next climbed alpine-style up the 3000-foot north ridge. The first 1000 feet were 40° to 45° ice, which we climbed unroped. We had an unnerving moment as we front-pointed to where the ice got steeper but too thin for ice screws and the rock no good for nuts or pitons. Eventually we settled into roped climbing up rock and ice with one good bit of cornice-crawling. We descended by the west ridge and then down around the hanging glacier. Further plans for the ice and snow northeast face were foiled by warming weather and avalanche danger, and so we climbed the two smaller peaks just east of Pinnacle and then hiked 50 miles out the south arm of the Kuskawulsh Glacier to Kluane Lake. It was the good weather that let us climb so much. It snowed almost every day, but usually only a few inches. It never got so stormy that we could not try something. It never got below -10° F. If this is not abnormal, it would seem to be an ideal area for lightweight alpine trips.

Bruce Carson

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