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North America, United States, Alaska, Marcus Baker, First Winter Ascent, Chugach Mountains

Marcus Baker, First Winter Ascent, Chugach Mountains. On February 6 Rob Bowen, Greg Durocher, Charlie Hammond and I started up the Matanuska Glacier for Marcus Baker. The first couple of days we were lost among moraine piles and crevasses on the lower glacier and hardly made any forward progress. We were packing supplies for 20 days on red sleds. Hammond injured his knee and we had to escort him back to the road. Finally we hit smooth going and made it to Base Camp at 6800 feet on February 11. The weather had been perfect and remained so the entire trip, though never warmer than -15° and always windy. On the 12th we shouldered eight days of food and headed up the northeast ridge. We placed our first high camp (actually our seventh camp) in a crevasse at 9300 feet. Camp II was no more than a bivouac cave dug into very hard snow at 11,900 feet. The view was very impressive, from Mount Spurr to Bona. On the 14th we traversed over the north and middle summits to the 13,176-foot south summit of Marcus Baker. We descended to Base Camp in one easy day, picking out attractive peaks to climb on the 40-mile walk back to the road. On the 16th Bowen and I skied over a pass to the Marcus Baker Glacier to P 10,955 at its head, some five miles from Base Camp. The west ridge was an easy climb but it offered more great views. After a rest day and another day of moving down glacier, we stopped at the foot of another enticing mountain. P 8660 is just north of the junction of the east fork and the main Matanuska Glacier. On the 19th Durocher and I climbed it via its southwest face on mixed snow and rock for another first ascent.

Brian Okonek, Mountaineering Club of Alaska