American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Hayes Range, Peak 12,360' South Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002

Peak 12,360' South Ridge. In mid-April Jon Miller and I left Fairbanks for a climb of the obvious line on the south face of Peak 12,360'. Situated between Mt. Hayes and Mt. Shand, this unnamed peak is the third highest peak in the Hayes Range. We flew into a small tributary glacier that feeds into the Black Rapids-Susitna Glacier pass, landing at about 5,500 feet. After bundling the plane up for a few nights, we skied up to the base of a prominent couloir that intersects the south ridge at about 9,000 feet. We climbed unroped up the snowy couloir to the ridge, then continued on ice and snow to the south basin at about 10,000 feet. The next morning we climbed hard snow and rime ice up the southwest ridge from the basin. At one point unstable rime mushrooms required a rappel from the ridge onto the west face. From there we followed hard water ice and more rime to the summit, feeling the altitude in our low-life Fairbanks lungs. We made the mistake of descending directly along the east ridge to the col between Peak 12,360' and Whale’s Tail, the next small peak toward Aurora Peak. This required steep downclimbing on icy slopes and several rappels. (It would have been better to walk down the northwestern slopes and traverse easy ground to the col.) From this col we downclimbed to the basin, returning to our tent just at dark. The next day we descended to the plane, warmed it up, and flew back to Fairbanks. We believe that this enjoyable line had not been climbed before.

Keith Echelmeyer, Alaskan Alpine Club

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