Mt. Neacola, North Face Attempt

Alaska, Neacola Mountains
Author: Topher Donahue. Climb Year: 1995. Publication Year: 1996.

Mount Neacola, North Face Attempt. On May 1 Kennan Harvey and I flew from Kenai to Lake Clark National Park with six weeks of supplies. On May 10 we did the first ascent of Mount Anklyosaur and skied a 1,500-foot couloir off its shoulder. Then we fixed ropes up the first 800 feet of the north face of Neacola. Taking the portaledge and all other necessary items for surviving a storm on the face, we started climbing on May 16, and set up the portaledge 1,500 feet above the glacier after moderate mixed climbing and fighting the haulbag up ramp systems. Day three on the wall broke clear, so we opted to leave the ledge and make an all-out summit attempt. We were completely absorbed by 5.10 rock, A3 aid maneuvering and much intricate ice and mixed climbing . Midnight found us at the top of the face, about 800 feet of easy climbing below the summit. Snow poured onto us with the intensity of a waterfall. We spent the short Alaskan night doing the dance of life on a tiny ledge chopped into the ice. Morning brought no improvement and clouds poured off the ocean to the east. Opting for descent while we still could, we rappelled through the storm and reached our portaledge in the evening. By midday on May 21 we were back at our basecamp eating pancakes and bacon. Over 25 days, the longest spell of clear weather was 24 hours.

Topher Donahue, unaffiliated

(Recipient of an American Alpine Club Mountaineering Fellowship Fund)