American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, United States, Alaska, McGinnis, Winter Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995

McGinnis, Winter Ascent. On February 24, Ian McRae and I crossed the Delta River and skied 15 miles up McGinnis Creek into the Hayes Range to the foot of the northeast ridge of McGinnis. We took the northeast fork of the glacier to a cirque below the east face. On the right side of the cirque, we climbed a snow couloir for 1800 feet to gain the ridge. We camped in a col at 8800 feet. The next day, we climbed the long knife-edged ridge to a notch at 10,400 feet, where we dug a snow cave. On the third day, we belayed on two pitches of steep, mixed ground to bypass a rock gendarme. We then climbed the summit headwall to the summit (3170 meters, 11,400 feet). We descended the ridge in the dark and storm to the snow cave at 10,400 feet, where we proceeded to epic it out for four days. Every day we tried to descend the ridge by digging through 15 feet of snow to gain the crest but were battered back by wind. Finally, on day eight, the sky cleared and we hurried down to food and water lower on the ridge, despite frozen fingers and toes. While we were in the cave, our skis were buried in an avalanche and we had to posthole back to the car. We believe this was the first winter ascent and possibly the third ascent of the route.

Jeff Apple Benowitz, Unaffiliated

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