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North America, United States, Alaska, The Throne, P 6500 and North Troll, Little Switzerland

The Throne, P 6500 and North Troll, Little Switzerland. The Pika Glacier is an arm of the Kahiltna Glacier some 15 miles south of McKinley. Jerry Handren and I established Base Camp at 5300 feet, equidistant from the Royal Tower and the Throne.We had six consecutive days of good weather in May and climbed early to assure optimum snow conditions. We ascended the large snow couloir that divides the south face of the Throne (7390 feet). About 250 meters above the base, we crossed a tricky rock band (5.7) and then continued another 125 meters up the couloir to the summit ridge. We did not ascend the 50-meter summit block, due to fresh, loose snow. We descended the couloir on rappel from horns and an occasional bollard. (III, 5.7.) P 6500 lies southeast of “Hobbit King” (6910 feet). We climbed a class-4 rock-and-snow ridge to gain the base of the prominent southeast rock face. We climbed the face in two 5.7 pitches to attain the narrow, exposed summit ridge, along which we continued for two short mixed pitches to the top. We descended the summit cone on the opposite side to a corniced ridge which took us to the western shoulder of the snowfield on the southwest face. The descent of the snowfield is safe only in stable snow conditions. This was possibly a first ascent. (III, 5.7.) The “Trolls” are two summits of about 6900 feet just south of the Throne. We ascended the steep west-facing 60° snow couloir between the Trolls to just below the col. We traversed north, skirting the cornice at the ridge to reach the base of the southwest wall (four roped pitches). We then climbed five mixed pitches of 5.7 to the summit of North Troll. We descended ten meters west to a cave and rappelled the face adjacent to the ascent route to the snow slope at the base of the couloir. (III or IV, 5.7.) This was a new route.

Michael Kahn, M.D.