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North America, United States, Alaska, Brooks Range, Philip Smith Mountains, First Ascents and Exploration

Philip Smith Mountains, first ascents and exploration. I have explored a number of routes off the Accomplishment Lake pass, just below 5,000' at the head of Accomplishment Creek. The finest of all is the high route southwest to Atigun Pass. In mid-July I set out from this lake with Wayne Martin and his sons to do a series of alpine first ascents. Five miles southwest of the lake, across the twin glaciers and their western rampart, is Peak 7,690' on the Continental Divide. Its trunk glacier feeds off a steep ice wall on the north face. We ascended the upper icefield on the upper plateau to a rock rib on the western edge of the north face. We reached the summit in fog. Continuing north of the Continental Divide, we made three more ascents of the most prominent peaks in the region. Crossing the Continental Divide on the ice fields at the very top of the north fork of the Chandalar, we came upon a fabulous cut-off canyon and waterfall that gave us pause in our descent. We ended just below Atigun Pass. As local standards go, this will be a classic route for the future.

Dennis Schmitt