North America, United States, Alaska, Arrigetch Peaks, Western Brooks Range

Publication Year: 1981.

Arrigetch Peaks, Western Brooks Range. On July 9 Dave Dahl, Jock Richardson, Bill Zaumen and I flew from Betties to Takahula Lake and began the long walk into the Arrigetch Peaks. By early evening of the next day we reached our base camp in Aiyagomahala Valley below the slabby south wall of the Citadel. Bad weather delayed our airdrop and we tightened our belts for two more days. In the next 3½ weeks we repeated the original routes on the Citadel, the east and west peaks of the Maiden and the Badile. We also made a first ascent of Slot Tower, the small pinnacle immediately east of the Citadel, via a deep chimney system on its southwest flank (NCCS II, F8), climbed a new route on the Pyramid, the west ridge (NCCS III, F8) and established a variation to the original route on Wichmann Tower. On Wichmann Tower we followed the southwest ridge directly to the summit instead of traversing onto the north face as the earlier two parties had done. This yielded two excellent pitches of exposed F7 and F8 climbing. On our last day of climbing Dahl, Richardson, and I repeated Roberts’ and Ward’s magnificent route up the west ridge of Shot Tower (NCCS IV, F8, A2) and found it to be one of the finest alpine rock climbs any of us had ever done. Contrary to earlier reports (A.A.J., 1965, p. 315) the Arrigetch is not “bathed in continuous sunlight during the summer months.” We had ten wet and foggy days. Our stay was, however, unmarred by the presence of either bears or other humans. On August 8 we were picked up at Takahula Lake and returned to Betties after an unforgettable month in the Arctic.

Walt Vennum