American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Chugach Mountains, Peak 8,680', Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2000

Peak 8,680', Ascent. On August 26, Kelly Bay of Wrangell Mountain Air flew Mike Loso and me to the 4,500-foot level of the upper Bremner Glacier. We spent the 27th and 28th checking out peaks in the area for routes and moving camp five and a half miles to the west. On the 29th, Mike and I ascended Peak 8,680' as a warm-up climb. Our warm-up climb ended up being a full 13-hour day to ascend the icefall that flows west and then south from the summit. We first climbed up the lower icefall, only to be turned back by huge crevasses. So we down climbed, then climbed back up the left-hand edge of the icefall through the “moat” between the ice and rock. Some rock scrambling brought us to 6,000 feet, where we skied up and around the upper icefall on the left (north) side before circling back to reach the southwest ridge of the peak. Extremely sticky snow made this a torture ski across the upper snow slopes. A large bergschrund with a “hairy” snow bridge required some delicate tiptoeing before we reached the easier ridge beyond. A short steep pitch found me on a short, thin corniced ridge, where I proceeded to kick off the cornice and send Mike a small avalanche. After a short stay on the summit, we headed down and reached camp just before dark. Peak 8,680' is the highest peak in the group of peaks bounded by the Bremner, Middle Fork Lobe and Fan glaciers. It may have been the first ascent.

Although we did move camp up to the base of a beautiful ridge of one of the larger peaks, three days of rain and snow ended our chances of doing any further climbing. When we reached the original landing site, it was covered in ten inches of new snow, and we spent five hours shoveling and packing a runway so that Kelly could land and pick us up the following morning. Luckily, it was clear that night, and our runway froze hard as a rock.

Danny W. Kost

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