American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Hunter, Two Japanese Expeditions

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Mount Hunter, Two Japanese Expeditions. Two different groups from Japan were on the Kennedy-Lowe route on the north face of Mount Hunter. Yutake Shinohara and Masamitsu Urayama started up the face on May 1. On May 4 they found themselves blocked by a crevasse at the Triangle. They then tried the west ridge. At 8700 feet they fell into a crevasse. Urayama was killed. Although injured, Shinohara managed to get himself out and descended to the Kahiltna Glacier, where he was rescued. Masuaki Onishi and Hirotoshi Suyama made the third ascent of the Kennedy-Lowe route between June 29 and July 4. They descended the west ridge.

P 12,380. Over a 36-hour period on June 13 and 14 Arthur Mannix and I did an enjoyable line up the west face of P 12,380. With Mark Bloomfield we left camp at 9200 feet on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier at the beginning of the route in unsettled weather. At a bergschrund at 10,700 feet Mark decided his heart was not in the climb and elected to move into the crevasse and await our return. The route to here had followed a broad gully to an ice ridge which merged with the upper face. With the terrain steepening, we began to belay. At the top of the cone where the ridge merged into the face, we passed the upper rappel sling of a couple of Anchorage lads who had unsuccessfully attempted the route earlier. We moved into a gully that welcomed us with a show of falling rocks the size of our helmeted heads, luckily the last that fell. The gully offered 13 pitches of superb ice climbing. Being out of shape in calf and forearm, we stopped for a six-hour bivouac four pitches below the summit ridge. It was exposed and not conducive to sleeping. We continued to the summit with renewed life. The 19th pitchgot us to the curled, corniced top. We returned to the notch just below the summit to lounge in luxury and bathe in the sun, study the view and dine on gorp. We rappelled the ascent route, finding Mark evicted from his chamber by spindrift and hunger.

Brian Okonek, Mountaineering Club of Alaska

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