American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Hubbard and Kaskawulsh Glaciers Traverse and Ascent of a Tower

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

Hubbard and Kaskawulsh Glaciers Traverse and Ascent of a Tower. Markus Tischer, Christian Weimar, Dr. Helmuth Kelleter and I were flown from Yakutat to the Hubbard Glacier below Mount Foresta on August 23. We continued in glorious weather up the Hubbard Glacier, passed to the east of Mount King George and Mount Queen Mary over the divide onto the Kaskawulsh. Our highest point was about 2150 meters high. As we descended the Kaskawulsh, at about 1600 meters it was broken and no longer snow-covered. We saw “our” valley, which descended from the southeast into the junction of the main Kaskawulsh and its south arm. We were drawn by three picturesque rock towers at its head. We just had to ascend the valley. The three rock spires rising from the ice reminded us of Patagonia and we called it “Little Patagonia.” Leaving extra gear behind, we ascended the medial moraine to the glacier and camped at 1900 meters. On September 1, we set out at five A.M. The ramp leading to the towers was covered by a windslab and the crevasses were hidden. We continued with caution. A giant crevasse blocked progress. The only way up was up a 70° ice wall, which we climbed in three pitches. The ridge of the middle tower was rotten rock on the sunny side and sheet ice on the shady side. With mixed rock-and-ice climbing we got to the summit at 1:45 P.M. My altimeter showed 3080 meters. The lower part of the Kaskawulsh was very broken and we often lost our way. Tischer and I climbed Observation Mountain to try to see where it was best to go. From the end of the glacier to Kluane Lake took a last two days. We had one bit of equipment worth mentioning. The outside of the rucksack had an aluminum plate attached to it. When it was feasible, it could be dragged like a sled and it could be carried on the back where there were crevasses and where there was no snow.

Wolfgang Laske, Deutscher Alpenverein

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