American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Wrangell Range, Peak 10,091' and Other Activity

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

Peak 10,091' and Other Activity. On May 10, Tracey Becken, Bill Drake and I were flown by Kelly Bay of Wrangell Mountain Air into the 8,300-foot level of the upper Chisana Glacier some seven miles north of Frederika Mountain. On May 11, we skied up to the base of Peak 10,091' before kicking off our skis for the last several hundred feet. This was our warm-up peak. On May 12, we skied up to Peak 9,310' to check out snow conditions on some steeper slopes. The winter of 1998-’99 created a bad snow layer throughout much of Alaska. We found an unconsolidated layer some two feet down that forced us to reconsider the climbs we would do from here on out. On the 13th, we climbed Peak 9,500'+, which lies just two miles east and south of Peak 10,522'. On the 14th, we retraced our steps from the previous day, then turned up another Peak 9,500'+just west of the previous day’s summit. We then climbed Peak 9,400'+, which is only half a mile to the south. This summit was special to Tracey and Bill, as we left some mementos in honor of a sick friend of theirs (Sarah Freney) and named it “Sarah’s Peak” in her honor. On the 15th, Tracey wanted a rest, so Bill and I skied to the south to attempt either Peak 10,630' or Peak 10,565'. We went up the glacier between the two peaks to a saddle at roughly 9,500 feet. Here the weather started to deteriorate, but we continued up toward Peak 10,565'. We climbed up steeper slopes to Peak 10,300' before deciding to turn around due to the weather. After we retreated, the weather then cleared off. On the 16th, we all skied up toward Peak 10,522', which I had soloed in 1998. The 17th found us moving camp to the west through whiteout conditions to the base of Peak 9,230' at 8,400 feet. We spent the 18th in our tents due to weather. On the 19th, we skied up to a pass at 9,000 feet, just south of Peak 10,200'+. We then went up the southwest ridge of this peak to within only a few feet of the main summit. The ridge was too thin and unconsolidated to safely continue. On the 20th, Bill and I attempted the widely corniced east ridge of Peak 10,200'+ and reached a high point of around 9,800 feet. This peak is volcanic in origin, and Bill and I enjoyed some beautiful rock formations, including black obsidian. On the 21st, we were picked up and flown back to McCarthy. This region was once along the glacier route to the Chisana gold fields. We believe these were the first ascents of the peaks.

Danny W. Kost

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