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North America, United States, Alaska, Valdez Ice Festival

Valdez Ice Festival. The Fifth Annual Valdez Ice-Climbing Festival, sponsored jointly by the American Alpine Club and the Valdez Alpine Club, was a great success. More than 60 participants came from Fairbanks, Anchorage, Cordova, Talkeetna, Girdwood, California, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Vast numbers of routes were climbed, both of moderate and extreme difficulty. Climbers heading for the Himalaya came to train on steep waterfall ice. Climbing conditions were good, with temperatures a little below freezing, light winds through Keystone Canyon and several days of sunshine. Luckily, the Lowe River was frozen, permitting hiking across the ice to climbs on the other side of the river from the Richardson Highway. Some of the difficult ice routes were these: the fourth ascent of Wowie Zowie (Grade VI) by Steve Garvey and Jim Sweeney; the first ascent of Sans Amis, an extremely difficult (Grade VI) route on the slabby, nearly vertical east wall of Keystone Canyon upstream from Bridal Veil Falls by Garney and Sweeney; the second ascent of Love’s Way (Grade VI–) by Roman Dial, Kate Bull, Jon Krakauer and Brian Teale; and the first ascent of Synapse (Grade IV + ) by Teale, Chuck Comstock and Joe Loffredo in Keystone Canyon to the right of Mud Slide.

Andrew Embick, M.D.