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North America, United States, Alaska, Haydon Peak on Skis

Haydon Peak on Skis. Our group, consisting of Pierre Beghin, Christian Bougnaud, Jackiepolo Duliand, Alain Gaimard, Michel Poencet, Maurice Poulain and me, landed on May 6 at Yakatat in very bad weather. On May 8 we made a reconnaissance flight of the south face of St. Elias, our original objective, but were prevented from landing at Base Camp by a sea of clouds covering everything below 3500 feet. On the evening of May 14 we could finally fly by plane to the Chaix Hills and helicopter to Base Camp on the Tyndall Glacier at 25000 feet. Our route was the long ridge that rises in a huge curve and finally reaches the summit of Haydon Peak from the west. In heavy snow but with good weather, we climbed to Camp I at 4600 feet on the 15th. The next day Beghin and I climbed a steep rock rib, then avalanche-prone slopes to the ridge and along it to Camp II, but not having enough food, returned to Camp I on the 17th and, after 18 inches of new snow, to Base Camp on the 18th. It stormed until May 22 when we plowed through a meter of new snow to Camp II. It stormed for the next two days, but on May 25 we climbed to make Camp III at 10,000 feet. A huge avalanche broke away from the ridge under our feet. On May 26 we climbed to just beyond Haydon Col, but the weather became bad at noon and the snow was waist-deep; we returned to campon the col. On May 27 we gave up the idea of climbing St. Elias and climbed Haydon Peak (3633 meters, 11,920 feet) in bad weather. The weather was good on May 28 and we climbed Haydon Peak again for a movie. On May 29 the skiing to Base Camp was fantastic, some of the slopes being 55┬░.

James Merel, Club Alpin Fran├žais