North America, Canada, St. Elias Range, Various Ascents and Attempts

Publication Year: 2004.

Various ascents and attempts. In May 2002 Tim Connelly and I guided an American Alpine Institute group in the St. Elias Range.

Paul Claus of Ultima Thule flew us to an unnamed glacier cirque south of the Goat Creek Glacier and north of the Bagley Icefield. With near-perfect weather for nine days, we ascended five peaks, all possible first ascents. We began by climbing Peak 8,861' via the east ridge, and a neighboring peak just to the east. We found ice and snow up to 50° on both climbs. Peaks 7,900' and 8,435' turned out to be interesting climbs up west ridges, with short ice steps and some 4th-class mixed terrain. Tim led the highlight climb of the area, the northeast face of Peak 8,412', with three pitches of ice up to 60°, ending at the intersection of three distinct ridges. My team repeated this ascent the next day. The climbing potential in the St. Elias is still vast, and entails an expedition to a truly remote wilderness.

In June 2002 Dan Shutter off and I guided a different AAI group into the St. Elias Range. This time Paul Claus flew us into onto a section of glacier at the confluence of the Baldwin and Frasier glaciers. We made the second ascent of the west face of Point 10,142' and attempted it’s still unclimbed north face, finding six pitches of unconsolidated snow and ice up to 80°. A ridge, which looked to be mixed snow and ice and low-5th-class rock, continued for another 1,000 feet or so. We made the second ascent of Peak 9,450' by a new route up the pyramid-shaped east face, finding snow slopes up to 55° and a spectacular summit. Climbing the north ridge of Peak 9,970' (a new route and, I believe, the second ascent of the peak), we found 40-50° snow-and- ice slopes, with a 15' vertical section of ice. We also climbed Point 8,184' and a peak just to the northeast of it, beyond a prominent col, where we found 40° degree snow slopes and brilliant views of Mt. Vancouver and Mt. St. Elias. Both these peaks were climbed via south and southwest slopes.

Jay Hack, Mugatu Alpine Club