North America, United States, Alaska, Revelation Mountains, Exodus, First Ascent, Lefternliest Couloir; Ice Pyramid, Attempt

Publication Year: 2009.

Exodus, first ascent, Lefternliest Couloir; Ice Pyramid, attempt. On April 29 Rob Jones of R&R Guide Services flew Seth Holden, Steve Sinor, and me to the Big River Glacier, where a gorgeous unclimbed mountain marked as Peak 8,385' rose above the confluence of the three forks of the Big River Glacier. We climbed the peak’s 3,300-vertical-foot south face via what we called the Left-ernliest Couloir. A long entrance couloir led to a small hanging glacier. From there we took a moderate gash, with the two final pitches containing exciting but relatively easy scrambling. In keeping with Revelation tradition, we gave the peak a somewhat biblical name, the Exodus, due to its prominent X-like couloirs.

Unclimbed Cerro Torre-like spires rose to the east, and we realized why a 9,200' unclimbed peak, which we’d heard called the Ice Pyramid, got its name. An initial attempt on its west-southwest ridge, the real prize, got us five pitches up before a large gendarme stopped us. We returned with three days of food and fuel and quickly navigated past our previous high point. On day three, atop the 18th pitch, a long, corniced, knife-edge ridge separated us from the summit. With weather constantly on our minds and a long descent ahead, we bailed. We reached the glacier on day four exhausted, wet, and cold, as the weather came in and came instrong. Over the next two days we hiked 22 miles to Rob Jones’ lodge on the Big River. “The Revelations sure know how to blow!” Rob said. We agreed, and agreed that our attempt on the Ice Pyramid was the best experience any of us had ever had in the mountains.

Clint Helander, AAC (Recipient of an AAC Mountain Fellowship Fund Grant)