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North America, United States, Alaska, P 5705, Tokosha Mountains

P 5705, Tokosha Mountains. My Dad dropped Dr. Richard Griffith and me off by plane on Home Lake, which is along the Tokositna River five miles south of the higher peaks of the Tokoshas and 5500 feet lower than Tokosha Peak. We had cached a canoe there. We were soon across the river flats and by ten in the evening we were well above brush line. The following day we walked across the broad plateau of alpine tundra to the headwaters of Bluff Creek. We dropped all but climbing gear at 3500 feet at the foot of the southeast ridge of P 5705. On the longest day of the year at two A.M. it was still light. We scrambled up to 4800 feet on beautiful granite steps and ledges of heather and flowers. The first roped pitch involved some A1 moves up an awkward crack and around a large chockstone in a chimney. The pitches varied from hard crack climbing to easy scrambling. We had to rappel a few times into notches along the ridge. Finally we were forced off the ridge to a series of ledges along the southwest face along which we traversed until we were directly below the east summit. Four more pitches of F6 crack climbing and a mantel move from aid got us to the top at eight P.M. There was no cairn and so we built one before rappelling down the ridge toward the west summit. A zig-zag line of eight pitches of mixed rock and snow took us there, where we found Michel Flouret’s first-ascent cairn. Our new route over the east summit had been 30 pitches long. We slept for an hour before we started down the northwest ridge at one A.M. Sally Johnston and I had tried to ascend our descent route during the winter but had turned around after we hit what seemed an endless line of corniced gendarmes. We now found we had quit only two pitches below the summit. We descended in a drizzle and hit the sack at five A.M. Our objectives for June 23 were two unclimbed peaks west of the notch along the Cirque of Echos. To gain the cirque we climbed four pitches of grimy ice and rock between a hanging glacier and a broken wall of rock. We found a much easier route along the south side of the glacier on the descent. We first climbed P 5650 via the south face and east ridge. There were seven pitches. Our second climb that day was what we called the “Cat’s Ear Spire.” The USGS map of the area is inaccurate; this spire is shown as a saddle between P 5650 and P 5950. It was a three-pitch climb. The last 70 feet were scary on pebbly granite with no protection nor decent rappel anchor on top.

Brian Okonek, Mountaineering Club of Alaska