North America, United States, Alaska, Mendenhall Towers

Publication Year: 1980.

Mendenhall Towers. During August Jan Ebeltoft, Dick Wildberger and I made a first ascent on the north wall of the Mendenhall Towers over a three-day period. We climbed a steep ridge up the fifth tower with two bivouacs. Although the setting is spectacular, the rock tended to be loose and ominous for most of the 25 pitches. The real surprise came on reaching the summit. Looking over the south face, we were astonished to see Mike Clark and Carrigan Daugherty completing a south buttress route on the same tower. This is the first time in the history of the Mendenhall Towers that two teams have met doing separate routes. After descending their line of fine cracks down the south face, we began an extremely gruelling trudge around the Mendenhalls and back to our south-face camp. This was done in a white-out, without skis and in a driving rain. In February Morri Whitney, Dick Ellsworth and I climbed the main tower in full winter conditions. We had —12° F. temperatures and 30-mph winds.

John Svenson