American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Brooks Range, Ascent and Descent of the Echooka River

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Ascent and Descent of the Echooka River. In early July, a successful attempt was made to reach the headwaters of the Echooka and descend the entire drainage to its confluence with the Sagavanigiktok. Crossing a high pass in relays from the Ivishak, we found a fabulous world of limestone pillars, promontories, canyons and waterfalls. But the main drainage was without water. The headwater summit (marked 7240 a mile west of the actual peak) is aproned with two trunk glaciers that constitute the main source of the river. An ascent of this peak directly up the north ridge was made in rain and snow. The corniced ice walls of the north face give way to a rock summit. The descent of the river was arduous, beginning with relays of equipment 12 miles to a small promontory that I hoped would prove an aquifer. The river did rematerialize at the base of this promontory. Four days’ travel through shallow strands, aufeis sheets and deep wide channels brought us to the Sagavanigiktok. The Echooka was one of the Arctic’s last unexplored rivers.

Dennis Schmidtt

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