Peak 11,191’, Peak 8,615’
Alaska, Wrangell Mountains
In June, Scott Peters and Kristin Arnold of St. Elias Alpine Guides, Ben Iwrey, and I made possible first ascents of two peaks in the Wrangell Mountains, near Mt. Blackburn. We were flown into the area by pilot Paul Claus after waiting for a weather window in McCarthy for four days.
The first climb required two back-to-back attempts due to whiteout conditions. This was Peak 11,191’ (61°48’50”N, 143°31’55”W), which we’ve called the Fin, due to its summit cornice resembling a dorsal fin. This was a pure alpine snow climb requiring a snow cave bivy on the descent to wait out a storm.
The second climb was of Peak 8,615’ (61°50’45”N, 143°31’46”W), which we called Finacle Pinnacle. It involved glacial ice, steep snow, rock and mixed climbing, a gendarmed ridgeline, and a corniced summit cone. Both routes are approximately Alaska Grade II+.
– Ed McCord