American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Moffit, Northwest Ridge, and Mount Hayes, East Ridge

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

Mount Moffit, Northwest Ridge, and Mount Hayes, East Ridge. Attempts on Mount Moffit (13,020’) were becoming annual events for Randy Waitman and I. When we flew onto the Trident Glacier he was making his third attempt on the northwest ridge and I was on my second. Two days of fun climbing brought us to the upper ridge at 10,000 feet. Here the snow was never deeper than a couple of feet over hard ice, and we worked hard to get our high camp, a split-level cave just big enough for a stove and two recumbent climbers. We were up early for a spectacular morning of knife-edged ice and rock jumbles, all in perfect condition. After the knife-edge we slowly traversed frozen waves hanging far above the surrounding valleys as bad weather closed in. On the next-door bulk of Mount Shand we spotted three tiny dots racing the approaching weather—our friends Jeff, Ian, and Rick, finishing their new route. We reached 12,700 feet, 400 vertical feet and a half mile from the summit, and decided it was time to back off. We retreated to the cave and after hollering back and forth to the Shand team over a great void (one of my best mountain memories ever), spent three cramped days contemplating the possibility of having to go back down to the glacier, then re-climb 7,600 feet of terrain we had already been over just to get to the last 400 feet. But the weather cleared in time and we finally got to leave tracks on Moffit’s summit. The east ridge of Hayes (13,800’) didn’t present any real climbing difficulties, but it’s a beautiful route to the top of the Hayes Range, some of the most spectacular mountains in North America.

Mike Litzow, unaffiliated

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