Peak 7,600' and Mt. Kimball. On August 12 I laid eyes on Bethan Gilmartin for the first time. August 13 found us driving to the Richardson Highway Monument and starting to hike east toward Mt. Kimball (10,200'). Due to inclement weather and poor map reading we ended up climbing the wrong peak, Peak 7,600', which is on the south side of the right fork of the Gakona Glacier (the fork at the head of the west fork of the Chistonchina River); we climbed its northeast spur. From the summit we saw Mt. Kimball 20 miles away. After further hiking we set up base camp at 4,000 feet on the Chistochina Glacier. We made the second ascent of Kimball’s southeast ridge and the first one-day ascent of the mountain. Along the way we found a long pitch of rock with much 5.9. We summited a 200' gendarme via vertical ice and overhanging rime, but the next gendarme looked a tad taller. We climbed in a ground blizzard, and the view from the “top” was thus compromised. After our 6,000-foot day we tried to raft out on the Chistochina River. Bears, mud, and a raft that wouldn’t hold air found us eating 20-year-old Kit-Kats we found in an abandoned mine shack. To say the least, we got our money’s worth from our internet “date.” When I got back to town, I compared my photos to slides taken by the ridge’s first ascensionists and talked to one of them about their ascent. I think the route and the summit were drastically affected by the 2002 earthquake. The most damage to roads and structures from the quake happened in the area of Kimball.
Jeff apple Benowitz