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North America, United States, Alaska, Around Mount Foraker on Skis

Around Mount Foraker on Skis. Alan and Shari Kearney, Malcolm Ulrich and I completed a circumnavigation of Mount Foraker on crosscountry skis. Starting April 5 from the landing area on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, we travelled over Kahiltna and Peters Passes to the Straightaway Glacier. We descended the Straightaway and traversed the north side of the range on the tundra as far as the Chedotlothna Glacier. A 6100-foot pass—apparently the lowest point on the long divide connecting Foraker and Mount Russell—gave access south to the Yetna Glacier. We descended the Yetna to the Lacuna Glacier, and skied the latter up to the 7200-foot pass below the French Ridge of Foraker, across the Kahiltna from the landing area. We arrived back at “Kahiltna International” on April 24 after 16 days of travel. Cliff Hudson’s Super Cub allowed us to place two advance caches on this route, on the Chedotlothna and Lacuna Glaciers. Crampons and ice axes were used to cross Kahiltna Pass and the pass to the Yetna, and to climb onto the Straightaway Glacier. The skiing was otherwise technically easy, although subject to the frustrations of roped travel on the glaciers, and thin snow cover in the willow thickets of the foothills.

Talbot Bielefeldt