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North America, United States, Alaska, Alaska Range, Mount Deception, Northeast Ridge

Mount Deception, Northeast Ridge*. Our goal was the southeast ridge, a long double-cor-niced tight-rope walk that had rudely turned back one strong party. Jeff Benowitz and I flew onto the Eldridge Glacier just south of the Denali Park wilderness boundary in early May, 1995. The Eldridge is a fairyland of fantastic little peaks, and completely deserted of people. To warm up we tried Delilah, a 9,000-foot peak just south of Deception (11,826’). We fizzled out a quarter of the way up the north face in the face of featureless slabs under sugar snow. Deception was next. We moved our camp up to a high basin below the ridge and got up at 3 a.m. in an attempt to make time before the sun turned everything to slush. But sun and low psyche caught up with us, and we fumed around low on the ridge, just before we would have had to make a committing rappel into a notch. The northeast ridge was our consolation, a moderate day climb with great views of the Range. We believe it is the second route on Deception, after Brad Washburn’s 1943 Southwest Ridge route. Afterward we climbed a 3,000-foot couloir on Mount Eldridgc before being tufted around by dangerous snow on the ridge above, then waited out a six-day storm. We'd like to thank the Alaska Alpine Club for supporting this climb with a Peter MacKeith Grant.

Mike Litzow, unaffiliated

*This climb was made possible by the support of a Peter MacKeith Grant from the Alaskan Alpine Club.