American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Royal Tower, North Face, and Other Climbs, Little Switzerland

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Royal Tower, North Face, and Other Climbs, Little Switzerland. Bill McKenna and I spent nine days at the end of May in Little Switzerland on the Pica Glacier. We established a new route on the north face of the Royal Tower and did a few other hard new rock climbs. On the Royal Tower, we climbed the central couloir which splits the two rock faces. Starting at nine RM., we climbed through the night with the midnight sun. The 50° to 60° 1800-foot-high couloir dead-ended in a rock headwall. Hugging the right side of the headwall, we found six pitches of beautiful mixed climbing. There were two cruxes, a tricky verglas-coated chimney just above where we left the couloir and a section below the summit ridge with loose snow over rotten rock. We rappelled to the couloir, which we down-climbed. The whole climb took 16 hours. Another good route was Maneater (5.10b) on the right comer of the Throne, which had a 130-foot, 3-inch arching crack. We found short approaches and high-quality rock on two small crags south of the Throne. We repeated many routes and established a few other new ones.

James Sweeney, Homer, Alaska

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