American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

“Pass Out Peak,” first ascent; “Far Out Peak,” northwest slopes

Alaska, Chugach Mountains

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Richard Baranow and Steve Gruhn
  • Climb Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 2010

On September 5 the two of us set out to attempt two western Chugach peaks we thought might be unclimbed. From Richard’s home, we hiked up the North Fork of Eagle River and Twin Falls Creek before setting Camp 1 at Blue-Eyed Lake. The next day we crossed Thunder Creek, ascended to Blackout Pass, and crossed the Whiteout Glacier to establish Camp 2 at Whiteout Pass. On September 7 we traveled down the Whiteout Glacier and up a tributary glacier to the south to access Peak 5,940' (61.13652° N, 148.80742° W), some three miles east of Whiteout Peak. Finding no evidence of a previous ascent, Richard assigned the name “Pass Out Peak” in reference to his partner’s state of fatigue. The ascent of the north ridge involved two pitches of ice and one pitch of exposed low-fifth-class rock. Due to our desire to avoid the substantial crevasse fields in the dark, on the descent we bivied 1,100' below the summit. The following morning we set out for Peak 5,750' (61.13894° N, 148.77698° W). We descended the glacier to the northwest of our objective to about 4,500', rounded a rock buttress, ascended the glacier to 5,600', and kicked steps in firm snow for the final 150'. We found a cairn on the summit. We don’t know when the peak was first climbed or who first climbed it, but, for easy reference, rather than yet another Peak 5,750', Richard suggested the name “Far Out Peak,” because it was far out from his front door. We returned to Camp 2 at Whiteout Pass late that evening and reached the trailhead two days later. Not counting zigzagging through the numerous crevasse fields, we had traveled ca 52 miles with ca 18,000' of elevation gain. The glaciers have receded tremendously from their positions depicted on USGS maps. Additionally, the glaciers have thinned significantly, so that many previously covered rock features are now evident at locations where the maps indicate only ice.

Richard Baranow and Steve Gruhn, Mountaineering Club of Alaska

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