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North America, United States, Alaska, Wrangell Mountains, Peaks 10,630' 10,150', Possible New Routes

Peaks 10,630' and 10,150', Possible New Routes. On May 7, Kelly Bay of Wrangell Mountain Air flew me into the upper Chisana Glacier at 8,400 feet. Taking advantage of the good weather, I set up camp and immediately started skiing toward the base of Peak 10,630'. Due to circumstances, I was climbing alone. I wanted to climb two peaks I had attempted the year before while leading a guided trip. I skied up the icefall to around 9,500 feet. Here a pass between Peaks 10,630' and 10,565' afforded views to the south of Mt. Bona and Frederika Mountain. The route up Peak 10,630' from the pass is mainly ice that gradually steepens to around 50 degrees before breaking out on the corniced summit ridge. I had good weather until I reached the summit area. The clouds moved in, and the wind picked up. I hung out, waiting for an opportunity to take some photos through the clouds. Finally a few clouds broke and I took some quick photos to prove I’d been there. The downclimbing was tiring, but I eventually reached my skis and cruised back through the icefall and on to camp.

The next day, I skied up to the base of the east ridge of Peak 10,150' at around 9,000 feet. I crossed the bergschrund and kicked off my skis. The route is moderate snow for several hundred feet before steepening to around 45 to 50 degrees of harder ice. After the short section of ice, I traversed back toward the narrow ridge and straddled it for a few hundred feet. I traversed left off the ridge for a short distance before rejoining the ridge to the summit. I had spectacular views in the sunshine and made up for the previous days’ abbreviated summit photo session. I then downclimbed the route and skied back to camp. Kelly surprised me by cruising through the pass later in the day to pick me up. I was happy he did, as the weather soon changed, and the next couple of weeks were marginal. Both climbs may have been first ascents, but only time will tell.

Danny Kost