Mountaineering Club of Alaska

Publication Year: 1976.

Mountaineering Club of Alaska. Alaskan mountaineers were again active in the Alaskan, Brooks, Talkeetna, and Chugach ranges. A highlight was the second ascent of Mount Deborah via a new route by Brian Okonek, Pat Condran, Mark Hotman, Dave Pettigrew, Pat Stuart, and Toby Wheeler. (See article in this journal.) The first ascent of the mountain had been 21 years ago. Another impressive event was the winter ascent of Mount Foraker in February-March from the west fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. After an unsuccessful attempt on the difficult south ridge, Steve and Gary Tandy remained on the mountain to climb the slightly easier southeast ridge after the others were flown out. Kevin Apgar, Steve and Sandy Passmore, Ann Widmer, Gerry Schriever, Clyde Helms, and Bill Brant reported five minor ascents, probably all firsts, in the Arrigetch Peaks area of the Central Brooks Range in early August. In June Charlie Hammond (18), Ward Warren (20) and Mark Fouts (16) completed a two-week traverse of the Matanuska and Marcus Baker Glaciers. The termination point was an airstrip in Grasshopper Valley, near Knik Glacier.

Ski touring and hiking have generated significant interest. Ski tours from Arctic Valley Ski Bowl Road to Indian, via Ship Creek and Indian Creek Pass, have become annual events. The annual four-day spring tour from Arctic Valley to Girdwood, via Ship Creek, North Fork Ship Creek, Camp Creek, Raven Creek, and Crow Pass, was aborted this year when the party was struck by an avalanche in the North Fork Lake area. Dona Agosti, the hiking chairman, organized a group of 36 members for a very rewarding five-day backpack tour in Katmai National Monument in July. A non-technical climb of Organ Mountain was made in August from the North Fork Ship Creek Valley and the southeast slope.

The MCA continues to support environmental issues affecting club activities. The club supports pending legislation to establish a Talkeetna Mountains State Park, and is recommending that hunting, trapping, and shooting be banned within the Chugach State Park, a de facto wilderness area just outside the boundary of the Anchorage municipality. The proposal now before the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to change the name of Mount McKinley to its historic name, Denali, is strongly endorsed by the club.

A basic mountaineering course was conducted over five weekends in the spring and summer. Thirty students enrolled, and 10 instructors participated. The students were taught techniques in basic rock and ice climbing and the fundamentals of glacier and alpine travel.

We were saddened by the untimely death of Don Sheldon, the veteran Talkeetna glacier pilot, in early 1975.

The MCA requests information on climbs in the ranges near Anchorage by “outside” groups so that the history of these ranges may remain complete. A note to the club (Box 2037, Anchorage, AK 99510) detailing pertinent points would be appreciated.

William A. Stivers, President