American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Mt. McKinley, Northwest Face, Father and Sons Wall, Tranquillo Couloir

United States, Alaska, Alaska Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Zach Shlosar
  • Climb Year: 2004
  • Publication Year: 2005

On June 4 Steve Lyall and I left the 14,000' camp on the West Buttress of Denali and descended to the lower Peters Glacier via the north side of Motorcycle Hill. Seven V-threads later we landed on the Peters Glacier with the intent of climbing one of two couloirs to the left of both the Father and Sons Wall and the jagged, funnel-shaped hanging glacier/snowfield just to its left (as seen from the West Buttress). The right couloir proved to have too much hanging serac at the top, and was devoid of ice in the middle, so we opted for the unclimbed left couloir. We soloed 4,000' up the initial couloir and through a glacial headwall, then onto the right side of a hanging snowfield, after which we arrived at the base of another ice couloir. We simul-climbed this couloir for 700', which took us directly to the summit of point 13,540' on the Northwest Buttress. We continued along the Northwest Buttress and Upper Peters Glacier, returning to our camp after 35 hours on the move. The route, which we dubbed the Tranquillo Couloir, involved 50-65° ice the entire way and was graded AK Grade 4, with 4,500' of new terrain and 7,000' of total terrain climbed. It’s a quality, moderate climb.

Zach Shlosar, AAC

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