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North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, St. Elias Mountains, Various Ascents

St. Elias Mountains, Various Ascents. On April 9, our pilot, Paul Claus of Ultima Thule Outfitters, landed us in the remote mountain wilderness of the Canadian St. Elias Range to fend for ourselves for a few weeks. Bill Hartlieb, Ron Gregg, Carl Skoog, and I established three camps on the upper Anderson Glacier—one at our landing site (8,500’), another in a large basin made up of Mounts Strickland, Wood, Macaulay, and Slaggard (10,400’), and a high camp between Macaulay and Slaggard (13,500’). On April 13, we climbed the south slope of Macaulay from our high camp and skied from its icy summit. On the following day we skied to and from the summit of Southeast Macaulay (which we call Mount Maylon) via the easy northwest slope. This appears to be a first ascent of this peak, which provides a commanding view of Mounts Lucania and Steele as well as the sea of peaks to the southeast. After one day of cloudy and windy weather spent in the tent, we took the opportunity to climb Mount Slaggard via its east ridge. A day of powder skiing on the lower flanks of Slaggard topped off the adventure.

The previous year, Brian Sato, Cricket Griesman, Bill Hartlieb and I climbed four peaks rising from the Brabazon Glacier, just to the northwest. During that trip, also in May, we also encountered outstanding weather and climbed a new route on the southeast ridge of Solomon Peak, the north ridge of Mount Strickland, and skied North and South Gemini Peaks at the west end of the cirque. It is worth noting that the altitudes of many of the above peaks are approximately 300 to 800 feet higher than stated on the maps of the area. Our altimeter readings confirmed what Paul Claus has been telling us about the Wrangell-Saint Elias mountains for several years.

Kaj Bune, unaffiliated