American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, Mount Natazhat, Northeast Ridge

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

Mount Natazhat, Northeast Ridge. On April 9, Paul Barry, Harry Hunt, Dave Lucey and myself made the second ascent of Mount Natazhat (13,435 feet) by a new route. The first ascent was made from the south in 1913 by Canadian members of the International Boundary Survey while they were surveying the US-Canada border. Our new route was via the northeast ridge, which we rated Alaska Grade IV-, We spent six days round trip climbing alpine style from our 7,600-foot Base Camp.

Camps I and II were located in prominent cols along the ridge at 8,800 feet and 9,300 feet respectively. Our high camp was in a crevasse at 10,600 feet, only one-and-a-half miles from the summit.

The crux of the route was between Camps II and III, where knife-edge terrain and tremendous exposure required our full attention. Our high camp was located just above these twelve pitches of delicate snow and ice climbing.

Summit day presented continuous 30-to 50-degree snow and ice slopes as well as some more knife-edge traversing. We enjoyed beautifully clear and calm weather during our entire 11-hour summit day. Our view from the top seemed limitless. We could see all the way from Mounts Saint Elias and Logan to Mounts Blackburn and Sanford, a distance of 200 miles.

We descended our route back to Base Camp during two more days of careful downclimbing. We left no fixed gear on the mountain.

David Hart, Mountaineering Club of Alaska

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