North America, United States, Alaska, President's Chair and P 10,004, Wrangell Mountains

Publication Year: 1994.

President’s Chair and P 10,004, Wrangell Mountains. Harold Hunt and I were flown to an unnamed glacier just north of the President’s Chair on April 21. We established Base Camp at 7600 feet near a rock island about a mile from the mountain’s north-northwest face. Japanese expeditions had visited the area in 1972 and 1979 (AAJ, 1973, page 410 and AAJ, 1980, page 531) and climbed a handful of peaks to the west, but they had bypassed the President’s Chair. The peak is aptly named as it resembles a chair when viewed from the east. A hanging glacier in the upper basin forms the seat; the northeast and east ridges serve as arm rests. There is no easy route to the summit. After setting up Base Camp, we climbed a 8500+-foot peak at the east end of the glacier for reconnaissance. The Japanese in 1972 had climbed P 8515 (referred to as P 8516), just north of our peak. On April 22, Hunt and I climbed steep ice and snow on the northwest face of the President’s Chair. We climbed through crevasses and séracs on the right center of the lower glacier. This led to a 150-foot-high sérac that guarded the upper face and was hidden from below. We skirted this on the left by traversing under a 100-foot detached tower. The upper bergschrund had an eight-foot overhang before we reached the 40° snow above. Three pitches brought us to ice gullies and the upper face. Another five pitches of ice, styrofoam and sugar snow at 50° led to an ice pitch which gained us the ridge crest at 10,000 feet. From there we walked up and down along the ridge to the summit (10,372 feet), where we were rewarded by views from St. Elias to Mount Sanford. On April 23, we climbed P 10,004, which lies due north of the President’s Chair. We ascended a glacier on the southeast flank to 9600 feet and followed the east ridge to the summit. On April 25, we attempted the beautiful, narrow north ridge of P 10,220, but gave up at 8600 feet when the snowbridge over the final bergschrund collapsed and I was beaten up in the fall by snow blocks.

Danny Kost, Unaffiliated