American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Mount St. Elias Ascents and Attempts

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

Mount St. Elias Ascents and Attempts. A number of expeditions entered the St. Elias Mountains via Yakutat. Eleven expeditions with 43 people climbed in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park or Glacier Bay National Park. Only four groups and ten climbers were successful. This is on a par with the average success rate in the area, caused predominately by the weather. The unpredictable and highly wet, windy, snowy conditions make difficulties. An early March expedition to Mount St. Elias was stopped by snowfall of 25 to 30 feet in a ten-day period. Another party never made it out of Yakutat because of the weather and flew south after waiting for five days. After starting on March 3, Alaskans Dave McGiven, Leo Americus and John Bauman gave up on the east ridge of St. Elias when new snow turned the climb into an exercise of survival. Englishman Dean James and Scot Alex McNab on May 22 successfully climbed St. Elias by its south ridge. A commercially guided group led by George Dunn failed to get up St. Elias by its south ridge, but all eight reached the summit of Haydon Peak. Tom Hafnor, Bobby Derry, John McKinney and Jim Chisolm hoped to climb St. Elias but the air taxi was unable to get into the area. They opted for Mount Logan instead, but weather kept them from the summit there. Some of the other expeditions in these two parks are described below. Climbers are invited to contact the National Park Service Yakutat District Ranger Station. They are encouraged to submit a voluntary registration form for climbs. For forms or other information, please contact National Park Service, Yakutat District Ranger Station, PO Box 137, Yakutat, Alaska 99689. Telephone: 907-784-3295.

Rick Mossman, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

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