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North America, United States, Alaska, Iliamna, Winter Ascent

Iliamna, Winter Ascent. After landing us on the tricky Tuxedni Glacier, Lowell Thomas, Jr. said that he would take no more climbers to this mountain because of poor landing sites and unstable weather, but he did a fine job for us. Our original objective was the unclimbed northeast ridge, but after reaching within 600 feet of the summit in a whiteout, hanging séracs and crevasse problems changed our minds. We set out at first light on February 21 across the north face to the also unclimbed northwest ridge. The climbing was not difficult for the most part, with only one 150-foot pitch of steep blue ice, but high wind and cold made the wind-chill factor -55° F. George Rooney, Rudi Bertschi, Ken Zafren and I wasted no time on the summit. A setting sun and increasing cold encouraged a rapid descent to our distant camp. Just below the summit a crampon failed and disappeared down the face. This made the descent more difficult but we reached our snow cave with just a few minutes of twilight left.

Willi Hersman, Mountaineering Club of Alaska