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North America, United States, Alaska, Michael's Sword, Second Ascent and Devil's Paw Attempt, Juneau Icefield

Michael’s Sword, Second Ascent and Devil’s Paw Attempt, Juneau Icefield. On June 28, Dave Dahl and I flew by helicopter to the upper reaches of Hades Highway. After a week of inclement weather we repeated the original route on Michael’s Sword (III, 5.7) on July 4. We found no evidence to indicate that this spectacular spire had been climbed since its first ascent in 1949 by Fred Beckey and Harry King (A.A.J., 1950, pages 441-450). On July 7, we attempted Devil’s Paw. After climbing through a very complex 2500-foot icefall on the northeast side of the peak we turned back less than 500 feet below the top due to extremely loose rock on the summit pyramid. After waiting out yet another three-day storm we skiied and hiked across the icefield to Juneau via Hades Highway, the southwest branch of the Taku Glacier, Ptarmigan Valley and Lemon Creek trail in four days. The portion of this route between the east ridge of Nugget Mountain and the lower Lemon Creek Glacier would be both difficult and dangerous in poor weather.

Walter Vennum