American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Little Switzerland, Middle Troll, Chaos

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

Middle Troll, Chaos. On June 9 we climbed what we hoped was a new route on the west side of the Middle Troll in Little Switzerland. The route follows the normal route, via a hidden couloir, to the ridge crest, just below the main rock buttress on the west face. From here, instead of continuing up the rock, we traversed along a terrace to the south and climbed directly up the secondary snowfield, stopping 20 feet short of the small col between the Middle Troll and a smaller peak to the south.

From here a chimney gave good climbing and access to the summit ridge. Unfortunately, due to double-sided cornices on the ridge we had to climb below the crest on mixed ground. With some interesting climbing, and tunneling through one section, we reached the final summit block. Because of deteriorating snow conditions and a small slide on the summit slope, we decided not to continue up the final 30 feet to the summit proper.

Descent was down the western buttress. Our ropes became irretrievably jammed, and we had to chop them. Not only were they brand new; it meant the end of our trip.

Since we experienced poor snow conditions and loose rock on much of the climb, we did not grade the route, as difficulty would vary greatly with conditions.

Mark Clifford and Will Stanton, United Kingdom

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