American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Emperor Face, Historical Note

  • Notes
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2008

Emperor Face, historical note. Nearly forgotten, in 1974 Pat Callis and Jim Kanzler made the first significant attempt at the then-unclimbed Emperor Face, climbing high on the face through a feature they called the “Jaws.” Callis recalls their attempt:

“It was a significant mountaineering experience at the time, involving four bivies, but we did not write it up because we did not go to the summit. We were escaping, having misjudged the nature of the upper wall as being ice. The lower part was great ice, and we did half the face in one and a half days but did not take enough rock gear and food for the rest of it.

“Ours was the first serious attempt, and it was in was in 1974, following two earlier explorations by me with Hank Abrons in ‘72 and Kanzler in ‘73. Also, we invited Jeff Lowe and Mike Weiss to go on another try in ‘75, but after hanging out at the base waiting for weather, we had to give it up.

“Kanzler deserves recognition for realizing the feasibility of the line through the Jaws in ‘74 and talking me into doing it. Although it was the line Abrons and I picked in ‘72, by ‘74 I was thinking of a more conservative route that went left up the snow ramp at the bottom before going directly up.”

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