American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Alaska Range, Mt. Johnson, The Escalator, New Route and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Mt. Johnson, The Escalator, New Route and Tragedy. On May 17 and 18, in warm and unsettled weather, Seth Shaw and I climbed what we believe to be a new route on Mt. Johnson. It started on a 50-degree ice runnel on the east face, left of the prominent east buttress, which led into a snow bowl and then up the southeast couloir. It was mostly moderate snow and ice and gained about 4,000 feet from the glacier. We did it in a 31-hour round- trip, but were pinned down for a while in the middle of the night during a short snowstorm while spindrift avalanches poured down the route. The descent from the summit took about 12 hours down the large gully to the south. Unfortunately, Seth was killed about a week later by serac fall.

Tim Wagner

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