American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Cathedral Mountains

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Cathedral Mountains. In June, John Middendorf, Calvin Hebert, and I visited a small, isolated cluster of granitic peaks with small glaciers to the west of Mount Foraker at the edge of the high tundra. The peaks are bordered by Cathedral Creek on the west; one wonders if they were originally intended to be the Cathedral Spires (Kichatna Spires) to the southwest. The “Cathedral Mountains” are in fact a Kichatna miniature, with an inferior quality of rock.

After an airdrop on the Cathedral Creek glacier, we hiked into our Base Camp from the roadway of the Purkypile Mine. The ascent of the highest summit of the peaks (just over 8,500 feet) had an interesting glacial sweep, then a narrow summit snow ridge. The crux was a really loose section of flaky rock (5.5). Most of the climb was done with light snow falling, so the views we expected were limited. The area has some wall climbing potential, but much smaller than the Kichatnas. Despite the inclement weather, it was a worthy exploration and climbing trip. It seems certain that we were the first climbers to visit these peaks.

Fred Beckey

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