North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Orville Attempt and Ascents of P 8900 and P 7209

Publication Year: 1992.

Mount Orville Attempt and Ascents of P 8900 and P 7209. On June 14, Sam Grubenhof and I were flown by Mike Ivers from Yakutat to 4000 feet on the North Crillon Glacier. We did a double carry the next day and set up Base Camp at 5300 feet. On the 16th, we set off at four A.M. with bivouac sacks and two days of food. We cramponed up a wide gully on the south slopes of Mount Orville (3199 meters, 10,495 feet), using pickets for running belays and reached a 7000-foot gap on the southeast ridge at 6:30 A.M. Then we climbed mixed snow and fourth-class rock to a flat area at 8000 feet where we could finally see the next 2000 feet of the climb. We belayed along the ridge on rotten snow and loose rock to 8400 feet where, at three P.M., we decided to abort the climb since the route ahead looked steeper and just as rotten. The following day, we rappelled and climbed down to Base Camp. On June 19, we climbed to a ridge just east of camp and purposely set off many slush avalanches to clean the route toward the gap between Orville and P 8900 (2713 meters). This is incorrectly named Mount Wilbur on the Mount Fairweather C-4 quadrangle. It lies on the ridge between its foresummits: P 8826 and P 8632. Trying to climb in the safest snow conditions, we set out for P 8900 at nine P.M. on June 20. We reached the summit of this spectacular viewpoint at 7:30 A.M. after a challenging glacier climb, weaving our way through numerous Alaska-sized crevasses. On the 23rd, we moved our camp back to the landing site and then walked under the northwest face of Crillon through the gap where Loren Adkin’s party began their west ridge climb in 1972 and on to P 7209 (2198 meters), which afforded a marvelous panorama. We called our pilot to change return plans and retraced our steps to camp. The next morning Mike picked us up and returned us to Yakutay.

Silas Wild, Boeing Alpine Club