American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, P.10,000+' and P.8580', Centennial Range

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

P.10,000+' and P.8580', Centennial Range, St. Elias Mountains. On April 25, Paul Claus flew Mimi McDougall and myself into the Centennial Range of the St. Elias mountains, landing at 7,200 feet on an unnamed glacier only two miles from the Canadian border. We were between the Walsh and Chitina glaciers just south of Mt. George. On April 26, we ascended the boundary peak to our immediate northeast which I believe is 10,000+ feet. We ascended the steep glacier flowing to the south from the western end of the peak, beginning at around 7,500 feet to reach a small basin at about 9000 feet. From here we went up a 40 to 45° slope above the bergschrund to reach the ridge, which we followed to the north. The main summit ridge runs west to east, and at around 9,800 feet we meandered to the east toward the main summit. The summit ridge is corniced to the north, and we finally sneaked up to the main summit in the thickening clouds and light snow late in the afternoon. The snow conditions were varied, with some sections having deep sugar snow.

April 27 was spent in the tent due to snow, wind and whiteout conditions. On April 28 we ascended the glacier and icefall leading up to P.8580' to our south, staying on our skis up to the ridge crest to avoid the deep sugar snow. We were hoping to follow the ridge to the west and climb P.9874', but the deep sugar snow was too frustrating and we decided to enjoy the day and not push it. Our high point was P.8984' between P.8580' and P.9874'.

We spent April 29 skiing in bright sunshine up the glacier to check out the higher peaks of the Centennial Range to our east, stopping at around 8,500 feet or so. Later that day Paul flew in just as a snow storm was descending on the glacier, and we got off just as the weather closed in behind us. I believe both climbs were first ascents of the peaks.

Danny W. Kost

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