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North America, United States, Alaska, Tordrillo Mountains, Nagishlamina, East Ridge

Nagishlamina, East Ridge. In May Brad Gessner, Doug Munoz, Stuart Parks, and I, all of Anchorage, completed a new route on, and made the second ascent of, 11,068' Nagishlamina, one of five peaks over 11,000' in the Tordrillo Range. Our line climbed the east ridge of Nagishlamina, which divides the east and southeast forks of the Capps Glacier. We rated the climb Alaska Grade II+, for sustained cornice and knife-edge ridge climbing, ice to 70°, and extreme remoteness. The climb took four days, including two storm days. The flight from Talkeetna took one hour, and our pilot was able to land at approximately 5,200' on the east fork of the Capps Glacier, adjacent to the east ridge. From base camp we traversed south onto the east ridge a few hundred feet above the ridge’s heavily crevassed toe. We passed to the south side of the east ridge and gained the ridge proper a few hundred feet above. The rounded snow-dome summit was reached in good weather on day four, after which the ridge was descended to base camp.

The Tordrillos are located 80 miles west of Anchorage and are clearly visible from the city. Nagishlamina sits between its more famous neighbors Mt. Spur and Mt. Torbert and was first climbed from the southwest in 1989. Despite the areas proximity to Anchorage and the skyline views these peaks afford, the Tordrillos are rarely visited, offer difficult logistics, and big price tags. Although Anchorage is closer, Talkeetna seems to be the best flight base, due to the numerous skilled glacier pilots. Plan on spending $600-$ 1,000 per person to get in and out.

Rod Hancock