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North America, United States, Alaska, Brooks Range, Arrigetch Peaks, Various Ascents

Arrigetch Peaks, Various Ascents. In early August, Stan Justice, Dean Justice, Ian McRae, Michael Williams and I flew into the Arrigetch Peaks of the Western Brooks Range. We cut our flight costs in half by flying from Graying Lake (near Prospect on the Dalton Highway) to Takahula Lake. We avoided mosquitoes by choosing to climb in August but paid the price with rainy, cold weather.

Most of the higher (above 6,000') peaks in the area have been climbed. We spent two lazy days bushwhacking into a valley south of Shot Tower. After making base camp in a high meadow, we split into two teams. Ian, Michael and I chose the first peak that caught our eye as our (only) objective. We climbed the North ArĂȘte of Coolage Tower (IV 5.9 A1) after two failed attempts due to rain. The climb consisted of one crack system that steadily rose for 1,500 feet. The crack size varied from offwidth to knifeblade and back again. Surmounting the final bit involved some tricky free climbing and overhanging aid. We rappelled down the east face to avoid the traversing nature of our line of ascent. The rock on our route was the best any of us had seen in Alaska.

Jeff apple Benowitz