American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Rooster Comb, Northwest Ridge of P 9680 to P 9220

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

Rooster Comb, Northwest Ridge of P 9680 to P 9220. Andy Cunningham and I climbed the northwest ridge of P 9680 to an upper snow shelf on May 14 and 15, traversed left and climbed to the summit of P 9220 on May 16 and descended the same route on May 16 and 17. The initial rock wall was avoided on the left with a brief exposure to sérac fall. We returned to the crest by a fluted snowfield. We bypassed the next rock wall by a zigzag to the left before we followed the crest to the crux section of the route. A very difficult pitch of mixed climbing led to a big cornice which we passed on the left by a long unprotected pitch of steep insecure snow. The snow arête led to a bivouac site. We had climbed 19 pitches in 17 hours. May 15 started with three difficult pitches on the right of the crest. The final rock buttress was passed by an ice gully on the right directly under séracs and then through a sérac wall further right (13 pitches). We were now on a snow slope under P 9680, which had an enormous cornice. We went left to a bivouac below P 9220 (12 hours). A long pitch led to the summit of previously unclimbed P 9220. The mountain had the last laugh, however, because the summit was hollow and on my final step onto the highest point, I fell into a crevasse! In view of this, the cornices on the summit ridge, the lack of food and the dangerous appearance of the descent from the main summit of the Rooster Comb, we climbed down and abseiled the ascent route, reaching the glacier just as the weather broke.

Andy Nisbet, Scottish Mountaineering Club

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