American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Kluane National Park Reserve, Mts. Hubbard, Kennedy, South Kennedy, and Alverstone, Various Activity

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Mts. Hubbard, Kennedy, South Kennedy, and Alverstone, Various Activity. On June 22, Kurt Gloyer of Gulf Air Taxi flew Douglas Bonoff, Doug Zimmerman, and I to the 2580-meter level on the Cathedral Glacier in Kluane National Park from Yakutat. Two days were spent hauling loads to approximately 3300 meters. On June 26, we established a camp at 3880 meters on the Cathedral Glacier between Mt. Alverstone and Hubbard. On June 27, we attempted the east face of Alverstone but were unsuccessful due to poor snow conditions.

The next day, at 1:30 a.m., we departed camp for an ascent of Mt. Hubbard via the north face/icefall. Easy climbing led around seracs until we were able to gain the east shoulder at 4200 meters. We summited Hubbard (4505m) in cold, clear conditions at 5:30 a.m. That afternoon we descended to our 3300-meter camp for a day off.

The following day (June 29) we established a camp at 3450 meters on Mt. Kennedy. With favorable conditions, we decided to attempt the unclimbed South Kennedy (3656m) along its north ridge. Easy climbing led to a final steep pitch of snow. The summit of South Kennedy was very exposed and too small for one climber, let alone three. As a result, the final pitch was climbed and down climbed, thus allowing each of us to summit. On June 30, we climbed the west ridge (normal route) of Mt. Kennedy (4238m) in clear conditions.

Clear skies and a lack of new snow made early day travel easy. Late-day snow conditions deteriorated significantly, keeping us in camp as we observed the cascade of serac avalanches. Route-finding options on the Cathedral Glacier were limited. Establishing the camp at 3300 meters required several hauling systems for the sleds.

Conditions for our two-week stay on the Cathedral Glacier were exceptional. The weather was perfect. On July 2, we descended to 2580 meters and were able to contact Gulf Air for a July 3 pickup. The Fourth of July was spent in Yakutat celebrating. Doug Zimmerman placed seventh in the Bay to Breakers 10K race on the Fourth of July. Doug Bonoff and Bob walked the course.

Robert M. Plucenik

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