American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Foraker, Talkeetna Ridge; Hunter South Peak, Southwest Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

Foraker, Talkeetna Ridge; Hunter South Peak, Southwest Ridge. Jim Graham and I made an acclimatization climb of the southwest ridge of Mount Hunter in late April. This was helpful in that we were conditioned to heavy packs, ice climbing and cold temperatures. The ridge was mostly 30° to 50° snow and ice with several mixed pitches at 11,000 feet. Camps were made at 9500 (above the couloir), 10,500 and 12,000 feet. Under perfect skies, we reached the south peak. On May 4, we left the southwest fork of the Kahiltna Glacier to climb Foraker’s Talkeetna Ridge. This was the second alpine-style attempt. Without skis, we postholed for two days and crossed two passes to gain the ridge via a 500-foot, 45° snow couloir. This led to a 500-foot wall of enjoyable fractured granite (mid 5th class). Several pitches of snow and ice led to a platform for our tent. The next two days involved traversing rotten ice cornices (50° to 60°) and crevassed snow sections. The fourth day we confronted a large snow-and-ice dome, which we passed on the right with difficulty. In the evening, we started the heavily corniced, serpentine ridge at 12,000 feet (Peruvian Way). We were able to erect a tent on a cornice halfway across. The next two days were spent finishing the Peruvian Way, traversing more rotten cornices and climbing several mixed pitches, which put us at 15,500 feet. With marginal visibility and -10° F temperatures, we climbed easy slopes and reached the south and north summits. We then quickly began our descent of the southeast ridge. We finished the descent the next day and continued the tradition of nipping off a large cornice at 11,500 feet. Good snow conditions allowed us to downclimb the “triangle face” between 11,000 and 8000 feet and continue down a snow couloir all the way to the glacier floor and our cache of goodies. Thanks to reasonable weather, we were able to do the approach, ascent and descent in eight days.

Mark Kightlinger, Unaffiliated

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.