American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, United States, Alaska, Wrangell/Saint Elias Climbs

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

Wrangell/Saint Elias Climbs. Continuing with the ski-mountaineering trends on the great peaks (Bona, Churchill, Bear, Blackburn, Logan and Sanford), Ultima Thule Outfitters guided, flew and outfitted a multitude of expeditions. Highlights include a guided ascent of Blackburn’s north ridge by David and Gretchen Staeheli with client Dave Gerstenberger, a new route on Blackburn’s northeast face and a tandem free solo of Saint Elias’ northwest buttress by Miroslav Šmid and Ruedi Homberger, telemark descents of Bear and Bona by Kaj Bune and Doug Barlow, a guided attempt on Saint Elias’ south ridge led by me, a telemark descent of Logan’s King Trench led by John Swanson, an ascent of Blackburn’s southwest flank by Dave Custer and a solo of Churchill by Doug Rossillon. Most interesting were the Super Cub assisted ski adventures by Paul Claus, Siri Moss, Roger and Steve Marolt, Doug Perry and Bob Perlmutter. The group was successful on several first descents, the highest of which was from 14,000 feet on Bear. Paul Claus continued to explore and develop high-altitude service with landings high on Saint Elias, Bona, Bear and Sanford. One historical note is that in 1986 Paul successfully landed on Blackburn’s 16,320-foot summit, thus unofficially making the highest landing and take-off ever made with a naturally aspirated fixed-wing aircraft, a stock 160hp Piper Super Cub.

Charles Sassara

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