AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, United States, Alaska, WRangell Mountains, Peak 9,200'+

Peak 9,200'+. In mid-June Paul Claus landed Bill Chapman and me on the western end of the Nabesna Glacier at around 7,400 feet. We came to climb the peaks on the ridgeline between the Kluvesna and Nabesna glaciers. We climbed at night due to snow conditions. On the first night, June 17, we attempted the east face of a 10,000+-foot peak above camp. We climbed steepening snow and ice to around 10,000 feet, where we set up a belay beneath an overhanging serac. This serac was constantly spitting out spindrift. We started up steep ground around the serac, but it was apparent that we were moving too slowly. We needed to be off the face before the sun hit it at 7 a.m. The face was sliding frequently during the day, so we turned around. Little did I know that, because of weather, this was to be our best night of climbing. On the night of June 18 we ascended Peak 9,200'+ about a mile south of camp. We skied up to around 9,000 feet southeast of the summit. From here we went over Peak 9,155' and followed the ridge to the summit of Peak 9,200'. A steep traversing pitch brought us under the summit block, and a short, steep snow pitch to the summit’s narrow ridge. We alternated standing on the summit. The climbing was marginal, due to warm temperatures and rain.

On the night of the 19th we attempted another 10,000+-foot peak about four miles northwest of camp. We skied to a saddle at 8,400 feet, about a mile from the peak. Here we sat waiting for the weather to break, but it only got worse. The weather was again bad on the 20th. On the 21st we skied around to attempt the peak again. We reached a saddle on the north ridge at 9,040 feet. Here the wind and snow pinned us down for a couple of hours. As it subsided we decided to attempt the ridge. However, the loss of time, as well as deep snow on the ridge, forced a retreat from around 10,000 feet. Our pickup was scheduled for the following day, but the wind shifted to the north. Fires were burning in the interior, the glacier had smoke down to the ground, and we were only able to talk with our pilot by radio as he flew over. Luckily, the winds shifted, and we were picked up late in the evening. I believe the ascent we made was a first.

Danny Kost, AAC