American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Chugach Mountains, Bellicose Peak, Freer's Cheers, New Route, Previously Unreported

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

Bellicose Peak, Freer’s Cheers, New Route, Previously Unreported. In May, 1998, Carl Oswald and I headed into the Eklutna Valley with sights set on a new route up Bellicose Peak (7,640'). After biking 12 miles, we stashed our ’cycles and walked up the snout of the Eklutna Glacier. We headed up the drainage where a beautiful frozen waterfall, called Freer’s Tears, after the late Catherine Freer, sits. After skirting steep rock buttresses, we gained a beautiful alpine valley nestled between Bellicose and its giant neighbor, Benign Peak. We bivied under a large boulder, surrounded by alpine flowers and crystal-clear brooks. We woke at 5 a.m. and were moving at 6. After following a pocket glacier, we headed for a steep couloir that snaked its way up the whole face. We climbed a short rock step and then followed the gully for another 300 feet to another, longer step. Carl led this 100-foot 5.8 R section with tools and crampons scratching. Two more pitches of WI3+ took us to more steep snow climbing up to 55 degrees. We exited the 2,500-face around 1 p.m. and followed the classic Northeast Ridge to the summit. Our route was the ninth recorded ascent of Bellicose since its first ascent in the early 1960s by the Bousman brothers, Tom and Bob. It was also the first route up the imposing northeast face.

We descended the shroud on the northwest side and skirted the mountain up through the Bellicose-Benign Col, arriving back in camp 14 hours after leaving. After a good night’s rest, we bailed and cruised back out to our bikes and civilization. We named the route Freer’s Cheers (IV 5.8 R WI3+) in honor of the great hardwoman.

Evan Phillips

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