American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, P 8000 ("Grendel")

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

P 8000 (“Grendel”). I returned to the Cathedral Spires with Chris and Arthur Manix, hoping to make the first ascent of a peak of 8000 feet with twin east and west summits, about one mile southwest of Augustin Peak. We waited on the Trident Glacier for two weeks in stormy weather before the skies cleared momentarily. We opted for the quickest-looking route and climbed the 2500-foot, northwest-facing snow-and-ice couloir (60°), just left of the main rock face that led to a deep notch north of the summit. We began at dusk and climbed unroped, not wishing to tarry in the path of the tremendous avalanches that regularly poured down the couloir. Above the notch the ridge became the proverbial Kichatna head-wall, complete with rim-encrusted overhangs. Three pitches, mostly of aid, in a renewed tempest brought us to easier ground, where we could leapfrog along the ridge. After a five-hour rest and various problems with gendarmes, zero visibility and a particularly vexing smooth barrier, on July 9 we reached the summit in a whiteout forty-eight hours after we had begun the climb. We bivouacked at the col and descended the shorter and safer couloir on the south side to the glacier, eventually reaching camp by circling around Augustin Peak.

Ed Newville

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