American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Thunder Mountain , New Route Attempt, and Other Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

Thunder Mountain, new route attempt, and other ascents. Over about three weeks in May, Ken Glover and I climbed a little in the Alaska Range. First, we flew into base camp below the south face of Thunder Mountain, where we endured about a week of good-to-great weather and repeated the Cordes-DeCapio mixed line (Deadbeat, 2001) in about 24 hours (including a nice five- hour nap on top while waiting for the gully to calm down). We also did about 3,000'-vertical on the big, unclimbed rock ridge to the right of the snafflehounds’ gully [Walk of the Schnitzelkings, Duepper-Traxler, 1999; for lines on this face, see AAJ 2005, p. 192], retreating after about two days (one bivy plus an into-the-darkness climbing day). We followed the ridge as much as possible, though we went around a few towers, and turned back about 400'-vertical and three gendarmes shy of the summit. Not quite a new route but a worthwhile effort, resulting in much fun and a close call, with a rope-sawing fall on a sharp edge. The climbing was about 5.10 A1 (probably would go free in the 5.10+ or low 5.11 range) on great rock, with the odd ice/mixed move, and lots of easier terrain. This is the line attempted the year before by Jeremy Frimer and Jay Burbee. Tired from Thunder and all the good weather, we got a lift to Kahiltna base camp and

climbed the West Ridge of Hunter in 21 hours round-trip from base camp (thanks to footsteps placed by John Varco and Sue Nott and another party), and doing the ice gully on the far left of the Mini-Moonflower in a leg-burning (“dog-tiring” in Steinbeck speak) day. This was our first trip to the Alaska Range and hopefully not our last.

Kelly Franz, Canada

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