American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, St. Elias Mountains, Bladwin Glacier: Peaks 10,460', 9,450', 10,142', 9,100'

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 2002

Baldwin Glacier: Peaks 10,460', 9,450', 10,142', 9,100'. On June 14 Marcus Collins, Phil Fortier, Greg Mueller, and I flew in to the upper Baldwin Glacier with Ultima Thule Outfitters pilot Paul Claus. With our base camp located at 8,000 feet, we climbed several nearby peaks. We made the first ascent of Peak 10,460' by its glaciated west face. The route consisted mostly of 40- to 45-degree snow and bare ice, with a short and notably steeper section of ice around midface. After this ascent, we skied across the glacial valley to the west and climbed Peak 9,450' by its south ridge. The most aesthetic mountain of the area is Peak 10,142', of which we made the second ascent by the unclimbed west face. The west face contains a glacial tongue that flows steeply down the edge of a cirque from the summit. The route began with several pitches of moderate ice, followed by long slopes of frozen snow (40- to 50-degrees) interspersed with short bare sections. After summiting we began an unknown descent down the south ridge, where we linked steep snowfields between the cliffs along the ridge. We also skied up Peak 9,100' via its west side. The final summit ridge consisted of traversing a cornice and scrambling on a loose rock spire. In addition we climbed an unnumbered peak immediately south of Peak 10,460' via a seven-pitch ice climb on its north face. The route, on almost entirely bare 50- to 60-degree ice, led from mid-face to a breech in the cornices about 300 feet below the summit. A short section of 40- to 60-degree snow led to the double corniced top of the peak. We had very good weather for most of the trip, but this created soft snow and some faces never froze. Our team flew out to the Chitina airstrip on July 3.

David Burdick, AAC

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