American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, McKinley, Cassin Ridge Variant

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

McKinley, Cassin Ridge Variant. Our Slovak expedition was composed of Emil Hasík, Josef Nežerka, Igor Valiga and me as leader. After landing on the Kahiltna Glacier on May 20, for acclimatization we climbed that same day to 3000 meters on Mount Crosson and reached the summit on the 21st. While Hasík and Valiga climbed the West Buttress, Nežerka and I left for the southwest face on May 25 via the northeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. We headed up the southwest face to the left of the usual Cassin start and to the right of the Denali Diamond route. We started about 150 feet to the left of the Henrich-Volkman route. We bivouacked at 4200 and 4400 meters on May 27 and 28 and then were forced to the right to join the Cassin route at 4700 meters by very strong winds and heavy snowfall. We were on new ground for 1100 meters or 3600 feet. This was difficult mixed climbing (up to 5.9) with long sections of 60° ice. The lower face offered only hanging bivouacs or bivouacs on ice-chipped ledges. We found some old fixed ropes early on, probably from Japanese attempts in the 1970s. After our bivouac on the Cassin Ridge at 4700 meters, we again bivouacked on May 30 at 5600 meters. We climbed to the summit on May 31 and were back at the airstrip on the Kahiltna on June 2.

Zolo Demján, Spectrum Alpine Club, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

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