American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Mount Augusta

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

Mount Augusta. Mount Augusta (4289 meters, 14,070 feet) was first climbed by Pete Schoening and party in 1953 by the north ridge, by Don Seri and party in 1987 by the north rib and by Mark Bebie and Bill Pilling in 1990 by the south ridge. Ade Miller, Paul Mead, Rob Wilson and I made the fourth ascent. We were in the mountains from May 3 to 25. We had hoped to make the first British ascent, to climb a new route taking a spur from the cwm northeast of the mountain and joining a subsidiary ridge leading south to reach the east ridge, and to descend the north ridge. We got to the summit, but not by this route. We placed Base Camp on the Seward Glacier just north of the mountain. Reconnaissance led to the conclusion that it would be unwise to descend the north ridge because of possibly impassable crevasses low on the route. It was in much worse condition than information and photos from 1953 and 1987 indicated. On May 10, we left with ten days’ food for the east ridge. We camped in the middle of the large cwm northeast of the peak and took a snowy spur between two hanging glaciers to join a spur leading toward the east ridge. In wet, unconsolidated snow, we reached a small summit of 10,000 feet on this subsidiary ridge on the third day. From there, two kilometers of badly corniced ridge led to the four-kilometer-long east ridge, which crossed over a sizable fluted peak. We descended. On May 19, we set out for the north ridge. We passed through a highly avalanche-prone valley leading to the base of the ridge. We camped at 10,000 feet and bivouacked at 12,000 feet to reach the summit on May 23. There were crevasses all the way up the ridge and a snowbridge collapsed near the summit. The weather was unsettled and caused us to stay an extra night at 10,000 feet both on the ascent and the descent.

Paul J. Knott, Alpine Club

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