American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, East Kahiltna Peak Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1993

East Kahiltna Peak Attempt. On May 2, Jamie Kanzler, J.P. Gambetese and I began skiing up the east fork of the Kahiltna Glacier to the southeast face of East Kahiltna Peak (13,440 feet). What caught our eye was an S-shaped couloir toward the west end of the face that topped out on the south ridge. On May 7, we left our Base Camp at 9400 feet to ascend the couloir and to attempt the fifth recorded ascent of the peak. Less than 100 yards from the tent was a crevasse maze, and Gambetese plunged into a hidden one. An interesting evacuation followed. We started up the couloir. Kanzler led a pitch where the couloir necked down to an ice-filled crack in beautiful granite. Halfway up, suspicious windslab on depth hoar crystals forced us to deviate into mixed terrain over a rock tongue as the weather deteriorated.Our delays put us onto the south ridge at 11,800 feet at dusk in poor weather. We were able to dig a small snow cave in a small snow pillow to escape sub-zero temperatures, wind and snow. In the morning, we descended the south ridge, releasing windslabs, luckily none more than a couple of inches thick. A second attempt on May 10 also failed.

Terry Kennedy, Dirty Socks Club of Montana

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