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Alaska Brooks Range Sukakpak Mountain, Arctic Haze. Sukakpak (typically pronounced suka-pak, 4,459') is a prominent landmark to Euro motorcycle tourists, RVers, and long-haul truckers who ply the Dalton Highway north of Coldfoot. To a climber, Sukakpak’s west face is even more conspicuous. Its 2,000' high and twomile-wide wall of “Marble of Devonian Age Skajit Limestone” (from some book I once saw) beckons, and climbers have established several water-ice lines. Most likely, bygone Fairbanks hardmen (or placer miners on a drunken dare) have clambered over the rock faces too, though we know of no complete ascent, and there were no signs of previous ascent on the face. In one sense, Sukakpak is remote, six hours north of Fairbanks and north of the Arctic Circle, at 67°37'. From an Alaskan perspective however, it could not be more accessible. Looking for an adventure and inspired by a post on the Black Diamond website about a “chossaineering” trip in Utah, Andy Sterns and I traveled north in his battle-scarred F-150 on July 25. Smoke hung heavy from forest fires across the state when we pulled off the trans-Alaska pipeline road below Sukakpak. We gawked at the massive face, stunned, before tenting on the banks of the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River. Saturday morning we drank coffee, glassed potential lines, racked, and starting walking up tussock and talus slopes until finally standing under what appeared to be a promising and fairly solid-looking start. Between the recon, approach, and back-and-forth about suitable lines, much of the day had passed. We agreed to stash water and rack at the base and return for an early start the next morning, anticipating a long, long day on the route. We returned early, and the climbing began well. Two consecutive rope-stretchers danced between lousy rock, fun corners, exposed face moves, and run-out slab. After this initial progress, things deteriorated. We angled farther right than intended. It was only 5.5, but steep, gravelly mud was curiously bonded to the face. We were tethered to the face in theory only, with nearly worthless anchors and pro, belay ledges collaps- Arctic Haze on Sukakpak, with the untouched heading below our feet. We finally rounded a massive wall awaiting the masses. Matt Klick

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yellow block and delicately traversed onto an expansive belay meadow, six pitches—but only 600' vertical—from the start of the climbing. We looked at the massive face looming above, capped by huge overhanging blocks of dubious rock, and looked at our skimpy rack. A direct line was not in the cards. We untied and traversed back left along the ledge, sucking water from seeps through straws snagged at the last truck stop, and then scrambled to the distinguishable ridge. We continued by scrambling and hiking the ridge to the summit, topping out in a beautiful, smoky, Arctic midnight-blue haze, with a view over the Brooks Range. After a long half-circumnavigation of the massif, we finished by tussock-hopping back to Andy’s truck, 20 hours after we left. The Voice of America boomed from Andy’s shortwave radio while we snacked, brewed, and discussed the projecting necessary for a big-wall route on Sukakpak’s face, happy to be off safely. We called our unfinished (because we wanted to go direct) route Arctic Haze (5.9+ A0) and clambered out of the smoky air and swarming mosquitoes, into our tents, before the bumpy ride back home. Matt Klick, AAC

Kigluaik Mountains Suluun, new routes. Last July Andy Sterns of Fairbanks and I made several ascents on a remote and spectacular chunk of granitic gneiss at the Glacial Lake headwaters. We flew in from Nome with Ben Rowe in a Bering Air helicopter to a base camp in the spectacular western cirque of Suluun. First came a 17-hour epic climbing its West Ridge (IV 5.7) to the west summit, lots of ups and downs across several tors, followed by a hideous gully descent. Two days later we returned to bag the true, east summit of the mountain, the Sulu Tor (II 5.8, from the notch at the base), a soaring pinnacle I had faced alone on earlier attempts. Lastly, we climbed an eight-pitch line, the Steely Focus Buttress (III/IV 5.9), up a patch of tolerable rock in the western cirque of the mountain. The normally scree-laden approaches were ameliorated by huge amounts of residual snow. Ian McRae

Suluun’s west and main summits, and the Steely Focus Buttress. The West Ridge route takes the left skyline. Ian McRae


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Mosquito Pass Wall (Peak 2,911'), Hidden Couloir. On a cold day in February, Jeff Collins and I snow-machined in to Mosquito Pass and climbed a narrow, 1,700' sinuous couloir (with some WI2 and M3) on the wall of gneiss to the west of Mosquito Pass. Ian McRae  ote: Reports of several previously unreported new routes in the Kigluaik are posted at aaj.american N alpineclub.org

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two steeper rock bands, and could be completed in one day from our base camp below the Hayes basin. That was the plan, but due to the weather we endured a sitting bivy on a ledge chopped into a 70° rime slope, with just bivy sacks and belay jackets. It was a very cold night. Samuel Johnson, AAC

Alaska Range

Denali National Park

Geographical note: While the well-known peaks in Denali National Park are often called “The Alaska Range,” these peaks form just one part of the immense Alaska Range, which contains many significant subranges, including the Hayes and Delta ranges, and the Revelation, Kichatna, and Tordrillo mountains.

Denali National Park and Preserve, summary. The 2009 climbing season once again featured great tri- Sam Johnson on cruxy mixed ground on Alchemy umphs and moving tragedies. Four deaths occurred Ridge. Matt Klick on Mt. McKinley, and 47 climbers were stricken with injuries or illnesses that required medical intervention by the National Park ranger staff and volunteers. Two Colorado women, Sarah Fritz and Irena Overeem, received the Denali Pro Award for initiating and leading an independent technical rescue of an injured climber on the Moose’s Tooth. Starting in 2010, the award will be renamed the Mislow-Swanson/PMI Denali Pro Award to honor former recipients John Mislow and Andrew Swanson, who died on a 2009 climb of the West Rib. Quick Statistics—Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker: - Mt. McKinley: Average trip length: 16.4 days. Busiest summit day: June 7, with 77 summits. Average age: 38. Women constituted 12.4% of all climbers. - The five most represented nations on Mt. McKinley were: U.S. (698 climbers), Poland (47) Canada (44), Japan (38), and U.K. (38). - McKinley was attempted by 1,161 climbers, with 59% reaching the summit; 1,078 attempted the West Buttress, with 60% summiting. Fifteen climbers attempted Mt. Foraker, with eight summiting. - The complete Mountaineering Summary can be found at www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/ summaryreports.htm

Hayes Range Mt. Balchen, Alchemy Ridge. When my 2009 expedition plans fell through due to partner injury, I scrambled to salvage the season and found a partner in fellow Fairbanks climber Matt Klick. At home in Fairbanks we waited two days to fly in to a gravel strip at the base of the northwest ridge of Mt. Hayes in Rob Wing’s Super Cub. From the base of Hayes, we walked seven miles to our base camp in the Hayes basin at 6,500'. After arriving at base camp, we did some recon and made plans to attempt the north ridge of Mt. Balchen as our first objective. Due to bad weather it would be the only route we attempted, and we received only five hours of clear weather while on route. Of our 15 days from June 10–24, 12 had bad weather. As we left base camp we could see a dense Alchemy Ridge on Mt. Balchen. Johnson and Klick haze approaching from the north and told our- started from the opposite (Hayes Glacier) side of this photo, climbed to the col and ascended the skyselves we’d bail if the weather got too nasty. line ridge. Jeff apple Benowitz Over about 36 hours to and from base camp, we battled marginal weather to complete the first ascent of Balchen’s Alchemy (north) Ridge in 14 long pitches. We climbed a beautiful line true to the ridge (V AI4 M7 in the conditions we found, could be IV when dry). To descend we made six raps onto the east face, then downclimbed to the ‘schrund and ran under a serac to return to our skis. The route would be a classic in a more traveled range, as would the other routes on Balchen. In dry or even just non-stormy conditions, it would be a pleasurable outing, with many options through the

Summarized from the Denali National Park & Preserve Annual Mountaineering Summary

Other notable activity. On April 12 Norwegians Nils Nielsen and Eiliv Ruud climbed a likely new six-pitch variation (AI4/5) of the modern classic Shaken Not Stirred, on the Moose’s Tooth. They took a rarely forming ice smear to the left of the Narrows section (marked “possible new variation” on the topo in Joe Puryear’s Alaska Climbing) for three pitches and continued up snow and ice, rejoining Shaken Not Stirred one pitch below the col. They climbed the route in a 15-hour round-trip from camp in the Ruth Gorge. After an impressive effort on Mt. Huntington’s Harvard Route (27 hours round-trip, with retreat just below the summit), on May 21 Chris Thomas and Rick Vance returned and climbed a difficult new variation. The Community College Couloir (1,000', M7+ WI5) starts on the West Face Couloir and angles to the Harvard Route, joining it at the Nose pitch, before


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Mt. Hunter from the northwest: (N) North Summit, (S) South Summit, (WR) West Ridge, (NB) North Buttress, and the arrow showing the new Swiss route. Mike Gauthier

Samuel Anthamatten leading the lower gully on the team’s new route on Hunter. Simon Anthamatten

the climbers descended. It’s the highest of the many slashing systems below the West Face Couloir. The Puryear-Westman (2000) variation, below and to its right, is the only other of these systems known to have been climbed. The famed North Buttress of Mt. Hunter continued to be a showcase for speed and technical proficiency, seeming like an Alaskan El Capitan. In May, Bjørn-Eivind Årtun (Norway) and Colin Haley made the fourth and fastest ascent of the difficult French Route (GrisonTedeschi, 1984), in less than 40 hours roundtrip from base camp, including a descent of the long and complex West Ridge. They had first attempted the Bibler-Klewin route (Moonflower, as named by Mugs Stump after climbing high on the buttress in his attempt with Paul Aubrey in 1981, though true first ascent credit belongs to Todd Bibler and Doug Klewin, 1983). Årtun and Haley climbed from ‘schrund to Cornice Bivy in 16 hours, eventually retreating 100m below the summit, eschewing any rationalization of a “modern ascent” (i.e. stopping wherever you feel like stopping). A small group of Swiss climbers flew in to Kahiltna base camp at the beginning of May, and made several impressive ascents over 24 days in the range. One such ascent was Simon and Samuel Anthamatten’s fastest ascent, by far, of Mt. Hunter’s Bibler-Klewin/Moonflower. They topped-out the buttress in 15 hours of climbing, bivied at the Cornice Bivy, continued to the summit, and descended the same route, making the roundtrip from base camp in 36 hours. Also on Mt. Hunter, the Anthamatten brothers and Andreas Steindl climbed a likely new route on a prominent face west of the Rattle and Hum Buttress. Their line (2,500', M4+ WI4+ AI5) weaves up mixed terrain, with seracs on either side, and continues along a heavily corniced and mushroomed “Himalayan-like” ridge until joining the West Ridge route, from where they

descended (Simon and Samuel had already summited Hunter). Toward the end of their trip, one of their friends received a birthday delivery of pizza, booze, and cake. Samuel wrote (www.anthamattens.ch), “I would have paid $100 extra for some fresh apples.” Canadians Dave Edgar and J Mills made a rapid repeat of Deprivation (BackesTwight, 1994), with a significant variation between the second and third ice bands, where the original route does a big zigzag. Edgar and Mills essentially climbed straight up from the left side of the second ice band—yet still right of The Knowledge (Cartwright-Parnell, 2000)—adding five pitches of WI5 before joining the Moonflower for the Bibler Come Again Exit. Photo at www.cdnalpine.blogspot.com. They made the massive roundtrip from basecamp to summit and back in 45 hours. In mid-May Japanese climbers Genki Narumi and Katsutaka Yokoyama made a

Looking up Wasabi Gully. Kei Taniguchi

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free and extremely rapid attempt (with variations) on perhaps the hardest line on the North Buttress, the Wall of Shadows (Child-Kennedy, 1994). Carrying only fanny packs, they started with the logical, albeit easier, Gilmore-Mahoney (2001) variation, and made variations to the Enigma pitch, the Somewhere Else Wall, and also a thin ribbon pitch above. They rated their climbing 5.10- M6R WI5+, reached the Cornice Bivy in 29 hours (including a six-hour brew stop), and retreated from there. On May 25 Iku Mitoma, Hiroki Suzuki, and Kei Taniguchi (Japan) climbed a beautiful, albeit threatened, mixed line on the north-facing wall between the Mini-Mini Moonflower (or Micro Moonflower) and Kahiltna Queen, about two hours east of Kahiltna Base Camp. Wasabi Gully (M4x WI4+) climbs eight pitches and ends at the serac band. In early July, Ryan Bougie and Marcus Waring made the first ski descent of Mt. Foraker’s Archangel Ridge. Making a giant loop from the Kahiltna Glacier, the pair climbed Sultana Ridge, skied Archangel down to the wild, remote north side of the peak, then climbed back out via Mt. Crosson’s northwest ridge and skied Crosson’s southeast ridge back to base camp. Wedge Peak, west ridge attempt. Rob Wing and I established a camp near the northwest face of Wedge Peak (10,239') on July 3, after hiking in via Glacier Creek and the Muldrow moraine. We attempted the unclimbed west ridge of Wedge but were turned around by the gravity of our situation after passing three of about a dozen rock towers. The granitic rock itself left something to be desired. Jeff Apple Benowitz Thunder Mountain, Tangled Up in Blue; and other new routes. Alaska veterans Jay Smith and Jack Tackle climbed four new routes in May, culminating in the prized first ascent of the 4,000' north face of Thunder Mountain, climbed in lightweight alpine style by a route they named

Wedge Peak: (1) North Ridge (FA unknown; descent route for (2)). (2) Northwest Face (Benowitz-McRae,1996). The 2009 Wedge attempt was the ridge left of (3). Ragged Peak: (3) East Ridge (Benowitz-McRae,1995). The top of the North Ridge (Bayer-Benson-Colby-Collins, 1988) of Ragged is barely visible on the right skyline. Jeff apple Benowitz

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Tangled Up in Blue (VI- M7 AI6), in 67 hours roundtrip from camp. Their trip started on a small fork of the Tokositna Glacier, south of Mt. Huntington, where no one is thought to have previously climbed. They warmed-up with a rapid ascent of the Rooster Comb, with a possible new start, and then established Prizefight (2,000', 5.9R M6 AI5) on the 10,300' south peak of Huntington, and Lagavulin (800', 5.10 WI4+/5) and the Black Pearl (1,500', M6 WI5+/6) on a formation they called the Scottish Wall. Tackle, who has established many major new routes in Alaska since his first trip in 1976, called it “maybe my best trip ever to Alaska.” See his feature article earlier in this Journal. Peak 11,300', Night of the Raging Goose; Mt. Church, Amazing Grace. After climbing the fantastic ice line of Shaken Not Stirred (2,200', V AI5) on the south face of the Moose’s Tooth, James Clapham and I returned to the unclimbed 5,000' east face of Peak 11,300', which we’d tried upon our early April arrival. This time Night of the Raging Goose, on Peak 11,300'. The South Ridge descent approximately follows the left skyline. Gavin Pike we rationalized away the objective dangers of the central couloir, the line on the face. Although it looked technically easier than the line we’d tried, much of the couloir was threatened by a large, partially detached serac. Reasoning that what we couldn’t see wouldn’t hurt us, we climbed most of the couloir at night, emerging past a couple of pitches of steep ice and onto the upper section of the face, out of the firing line, as dawn broke. But the top of the face proved Dawn on the upper face, Night of the Raging Goose, Peak 11,300'. to be a maze of crazy hanging Gavin Pike snow formations, some the size of buses, a danger that hadn’t been visible from the glacier below. Clambering happily onto the cornice at the top of the face, we eyed the summit slopes a mere stone’s throw away, at the junction with the South Ridge descent. But the next few pitches were some of the most involved of the route, with vertical serac ice, sketchy rappels from snow mushrooms, and a final overhanging cornice exit. The South Ridge’s endless downclimbing and rappels through hip-deep sugar seemed to take an age, but we knew we were safe. We named the route Night of the Raging Goose (5,000', V WI5). Returning to the Ruth Gorge, we looked to the aesthetic north face of Mt. Church. Despite its prominence from the entrance of the Gorge, this face had only seen one ascent. We


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chose a new line to the left of the original Japanese route (Memorial Gate, Ichimura-Sato-Yamada, 2007). Four hours of simul-climbing past several short sections of steep ice saw us high on the upper face. Progress then ground to a halt, as we hit the steep, unconsolidated snow flutings that seem to be a feature on Church. The next High on the east ridge of Mt. Church, completing Amazing Grace. 100m took many hours, as we Gavin Pike excavated to the top of the face. As we were learning, ridges in Alaska are not to be sniffed at, and a sizeable section of the unclimbed east ridge lay between us and the summit. The ridge sported extremely delicate cornice formations, proven by James’s ride down the north face when a bus-sized section broke away. Certain death was fortuitously averted by my position on the other side of the ridge, and James, although beaten-up by his tumble, was otherwise uninjured.

The north face of Mt. Church: (1) For Whom the Bell Tolls (Bracey-Helliker, 2009). (2) Amazing Grace (ClaphamPike, 2009). (3) Memorial Gate, (Ichimura-Sato-Yamada, 2007). Jon Bracey

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Progress from here was slow, and though we weren’t enamored with the prospect of spending the night on an Alaskan summit, with only a survival bag between us and the abyss, the situation necessitated an unplanned bivouac. But the temperatures were balmy by Alaskan standards, and the night proved eminently bearable. After negotiating the summit the next morning and completing the first ascent of Amazing Grace (4,000', V AI4), we made a slow, water-deprived descent of the north ridge, followed by a long, interminable ski back up the glacier to the safety of our base camp. Our time in the Ruth Gorge had certainly been memorable. Gavin Pike, U.K. Mt. Grosvenor, Meltdown; Mt. Church, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Matt Helliker and I landed in the Ruth Gorge on May 6 to unseasonably warm weather and spotted a good unclimbed line on Mt. Grosvenor. Superb thin ice and mixed climbing in the center of the north face, between the Walsh-Westman routes Warrior’s Way and Once Were Warriors, gave us a great day’s climbing (Meltdown, 1,300m, ED3 VI AI/M6+). We downclimbed the southeast face to the Church-Grosvenor col and continued down the steep glacier back to our skis. After a rest, on May 15 we climbed the Japanese Couloir to the summit of Mt. Barrill in bad weather, in search of missing climbers. Thankfully, after a grim night out near the summit, they returned safe and well. We waited a day for Mt. Grosvenor: (1) South Face (Walsh-Westman, 2005), upper part good snow before heading hidden behind ridge. (2) Warrior’s Way (Walsh-Westman, 2006). off on May 17 to try a new (3) Meltdown (Bracey-Helliker, 2009). (4) Once Were Warriors (WalshWestman, 2005). (5) North Ridge (Bocarde-Head-Lee-Thomas, 1979). route on the north face of Mt. Jon Bracey Church, up a large fault system east of the summit. This 1,150m face gave superb climbing (For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1,150m, ED2 V AI/M6), and there are plenty more unclimbed lines on this face. We downclimbed to the Church-Grosvenor col and back to our skis.


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The next day the weather forecast was for a week of prolonged storms, so we quickly packed and got a flight out to Talkeetna. We later learned that planes were grounded by weather for the next five days, so we were lucky to get out. Jon Bracey, U.K.

Matt Helliker on Meltdown, Mt. Grosvenor. Jon Bracey

Jon Bracey leads the crux pitch on Meltdown, Mt. Grosvenor. Matt Helliker

Sugar Tooth, South Ridge; Missing Toof, first ascent; Tooth Traverse, attempt; Mt. Barrill, Cobra Pillar, speed ascent. In alpine climbing you do your best to anticipate the potential crux of a trip. You physically and mentally prepare for bad weather, loose rock, huge days, anything you can imagine. This time getting on the airplane and deciding to go was the hardest part of our trip. The day before Renan Ozturk and I left for Alaska we attended Jonny Copp’s memorial service. The day before that we said farewell to our friend Micah Dash. We could have never prepared enough for this. But in late June, after postponing our trip for two weeks after our friends had gone missing in China, we arrived in Talkeetna. It had been an unusually warm June, so our pilot denied our flight request, saying it was too risky to land in the Kichatnas and that we “should have been here last week.” So we went to the Ruth and within a couple of days after leaving home were beneath Mt. Barrill, racking up for a single push attempt of the famous Cobra Pillar (Donini-Tackle, 1991). It was happening too quickly. We wanted a week of snow, a mental rest to try to absorb the loss of our friends. Before we knew what was happening we were halfway up the route, feeling great. The weather was stable, the climbing engaging, and 12 hours after starting we topped out, possibly the fastest ascent to date. We descended the Japanese Couloir in the coldest hours of the day and reached our tiny tent at the base in a 20-hour roundtrip.

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After several days of rest at our deluxe base camp in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater, we began to motivate for another route. Back home we had talked about the possibility of enchaining the major summits of the Tooth group. Starting with the Sugar Tooth, up and over the Eye Tooth, onto the Bear Tooth, dropping down and then tagging the two Renan Ozturk on the initial section of the new route on Sugar Tooth. summits of the Moose’s Tooth. Zack Smith The link-up would be enormous, technically challenging, committing, and aesthetic. On the morning of July 4 we started up Espresso Gap, which gains the unclimbed south ridge of the Sugar Tooth. After a few hours of simul-climbing and soloing we established a new route to the top of the Sugar Tooth, for its third known ascent (2,000', 5.10, two rappels). We did a 70m Ozturk nearing the highpoint of the Tooth Traverse attempt—the obvirappel into the notch between the ous spire in the center of the photo (“Missing Toof”). The background summits are the Bear Tooth (right) and Moose’s Tooth (left). Zack Smith Eye Tooth and the Sugar Tooth and climbed onto the Talkeetna Standard (Hollenbaugh-House, 2003). On the summit of the Eye Tooth we rested and collected running water. For the next eight hours we climbed along the insanely exposed snow ridge between the Eye Tooth and the Bear Tooth. The climbing proved to be much more timeconsuming and taxing than we anticipated. Because of warm temperatures we became soaked and were getting increasingly committed to an unknown descent down exposed snowfields. We stopped at a spiky summit between the Eye and the Bear that we suspect was unclimbed and unnamed, so we’d like to call it the Missing Toof. [An ice and mixed route, Unforgiven (JamesRamirez, 2004), is on the west face of this spire but ends at seracs well below the summit—Ed.] The climbing ahead looked more difficult and exposed, and after a cold night wrapped in our tarp without sleeping bags, we painfully retraced our steps along the ridge. When we arrived back at the summit of the Eye Tooth we rappelled the 3,000' Dream in the Spirit of Mugs (Bonapace-Haas-Orgler, 1994) and returned to our skis. We climbed about 5,000' of rock, ice, and horizontal snow, but were less than halfway across the Tooth Traverse. I feel so fortunate to have received the McNeill-Nott Award for this trip. The grant is set up for amateur climbers like me who would not otherwise be able to afford these kinds of adventures. Thank you so much to the AAC for their time and support. Zack Smith, AAC


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Mocha Spire, first ascent; Broken Tooth, attempt with new variation. On May 2 Paul Roderick of Talkeetna Air Taxi landed Cody Arnold, Peter Haeussler, and I, all from Anchorage, at 5,600' on the northwest fork of the Coffee Glacier. Over the next four days we made an attempt on the west ridge of Broken Tooth. Starting left of the 1987 Lewis-Bauman west ridge start, we climbed a new five-pitch variation (WI4+ M5) to the ridge crest via the left of two ice couloirs. Route lines on Mocha and Coffee spires. Inset: Mocha. Jay Rowe One more pitch up the ridge led to an exposed but safe bivouac spot. We spent the next two days tent-bound, while 24" of snow fell. After the storm the route was out of condition and hazardous avalanche conditions prompted a quick descent. We then turned our attention to a 1,000' unclimbed rock spire that lies on the divide between the Coffee and Ruth glacier drainages, a short distance from camp. Cody and I had climbed its taller neighbor to the north, Coffee Spire, the year before. On May 9 we enjoyed a sunny and moderate six-pitch free climb to the summit. We chose the name “Mocha Spire” because of the chocolate color of the rock. Our line went more or less straight to the summit, starting just right of center at the bottom of the east face and ending just left of center at the top. The first pitch started in the left of two parallel cracks. This pitch is the steepest of the route, but was well protected at easy 5.10 on solid rock. The second pitch moves up and around blocks and slabs at 5.8, until reaching a large ledge. We followed this ledge system up left for a pitch at 5.6 and traversed under the large dihedral above. We then ascended the left side of the summit tower for three more pitches, at 5.7. We descended via a snow couloir south of the summit, with downclimbing and two rappels. This is a fine, moderate day climb. Jay Rowe, AAC

Revelation Mountains Ice Pyramid, Southwest Ridge. In April, Clint Helander and I flew onto the Big River Glacier in the remote Revelation Mountains. The previous year we had attempted an unclimbed 9,250' peak we called the Ice Pyramid (AAJ 2009) but were turned back by deteriorating weather after 18 pitches. In 2009, with the help of a Mugs Stump Award, Clint and I planned to finish our route on the southwest ridge. We left base camp on May 2, with three days of food, and climbed 15 long pitches of unrelenting mixed terrain to a small alcove. Our second day dawned clear, and the crux came early and hard on stiff fingers and brittle ropes. The hours slid by in 12 pitches of mixed rock and snow, with a final 80° snow mantle to the summit. After topping out we made one rappel down the mountain’s southern flank to scope future objectives in the Swift Valley. On a

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Ice Pyramid’s first ascent route, with the arrow showing the rappel to the south on the descent. Clint Helander

seemingly non-glaciated sub-summit we unroped and Clint punched into an 80' deep crevasse up to his chest. After extracting him and carefully stepping across the hole, we re-climbed our ropes and made several rappels down the ridge. An airy rock outcropping served as a cramped bivy, with half of our tent hung hammock-style over space. The third morning dawned cold and gray, and we rappelled into a deep gash on the south side into the Swift Valley, rather than descend the extremely technical and unknown 2,500' west face. Streaks from rockfall and avalanches painted the gash’s huge walls. Racing to get out of danger, we rapidly downclimbed unroped 2,000' of steep snow and ice. We found ourselves safe from the mountain, but one valley south of our skis and base camp. We needed to climb over the mountain’s lower southwest ridge and ski the final 2,500' to base camp. A critical pass on the ridge, which we believed to have been used by Dave Roberts as part Seth Holden nearing the summit ridge on the of his Butterfly Traverse in 1967 (AAJ 1968), proved first ascent of Ice Pyramid. Clint Helander more technical and dangerous than it had appeared. Nasty avalanche conditions and zero visibility hindered us. Hungry and exhausted but relatively safe, we camped on the flat glacier. The next day, on wooden legs and fueled with the last of our hard candy, we tediously climbed over the pass, where only steep snow and a 70° cliff separated us


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from our skis. Four rappels (three on single-picket anchors) brought us to the Big River Glacier in a whiteout. We stumbled to find our skis, but in our base camp an hour later we enjoyed the best Cinco de Mayo fiesta ever. Southwest Ridge of Ice Pyramid, AK Grade IV+, 2,800'. After several days rest, we further explored around the three main forks of the Big River Glacier and climbed a gigantic couloir on the west face of the Ice Pyramid. We climbed snow and ice up to 70° to the top of the couloir, which we called Cataclysmic Couloir, at about 9,000'. A gendarme-like ice feature blocked easy access to the upper ridge and without adequate ice protection we bailed. Two days later we hiked 22 miles down the Big River to Rob Jones’ lodge and flew out from there. Seth Holden

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had suffered a mysterious leg cramp and was resigned to remaining in camp, but my partners headed upslope, skiing near the right flank of the glacier until it was necessary to make a steep boot pack. Zach then led a section of vertical ice above a gaping bergschrund. The last portion of the glacier route involved cramponing a steep section, with the exposure of blue ice walls underneath. They navigated around two more ’schrunds, then completed the route to the virgin summit. The route climbs a strange corkscrew-shaped glacier that, from the summit, flows briefly northwest, then curves north, then broadens to the northeast down to our camp. After absorbing the spellbinding views of this remote portion of the range, one that included numerous difficult-appearing unclimbed peaks, they skied back to camp, sometimes roped while jumping impasses. Richard punched though a crevasse and somersaulted onto a steep slope, to highlight the descent. Fred Beckey, AAC

Snowcap Mountain, first ascent and clarification. A prominent rock peak with an unusual summit icecap, located between the upper forks of the Stony River, southeast of the nearby Revelation Mountains, is identified incorrectly on current topographic maps. The true Snowcap Mountain (ca 8,350') is unquestionably about three miles southwest of the summit, which has no permanent summit snow or ice, so named on these maps. In 1928 geologist and topographer Stephen R. Capps completed the difficult wilderness trek from Cook Inlet across Merrill Pass to the Stony River. His precise report of this unexplored region clearly indicates the mountain’s correct position, verified by my two expeditions to the region. The true Snowcap Mountain, its name and position marked on his map about 20 miles north-northeast of Two Lakes, is clearly visible from Capps’ route along the river, while the summit named on the newer maps is not in sight. May 21, 2008, dawned a glorious morning. Pilot Rob Jones had already landed Zach Shlosar, Richard Baranow, and me on a narrow, tumbling glacier to the east of true Snowcap. I

An aerial view of the true Snowcap Mountain, from the northeast. The route ascends the glacier tongue starting in the lower-right corner, and continuing near the peak’s right skyline to the summit. Fred Beckey

Neacola Mountains First ascents and descents. In late April 2006 Dustin Schaad and I were dropped by ski plane near Glacier Fork [a.k.a. The Pitchfork Glacier, which drains to the Glacier Fork of the Tlikakila River]. Our pilot, Doug Brewer, knew of no one being flown into this spot before. Over two weeks in late April and early May, we explored ridges and couloirs surrounding our base camp. Although we weren’t there to peak-bag, we topped out some impressive couloirs, ticking off a handful of 3,000–4,000' first ascents (climbed with crampons and axes) and descents (on skis). [Maps and photos at aaj.americanalpineclub.org] Daron Huck First ascents and exploration. On April 21 Gerard van den Berg and I installed camp at the top of the Pitchfork glacial cirque [They initially reported being on the North Fork Glacier, but their maps and coordinates show the Pitchfork, which drains to the Glacier Fork of the Tlikakila River. The North Fork is a few miles southwest of the Pitchfork—Ed.], near Neacola Pacific Warrior, on Aguja Ulysses. Curro González Mountain (2,873m). The next day we prepared to explore the endless spectacular climbing and skiing, but a storm dropped two meters of snow, trapping us for six days. When the sun timidly emerged, the mountains were heavily loaded, so we headed toward summits that we felt were safer and had five good days. Peak and route names are ours, as we believe our ascents were all firsts: Day 1. We climbed Pacific Warrior (360m, 6b [French] A2 M6 WI4) on the southwest face of Aguja Ulysses (2,150m, section 22 on Lake Clark (D1) map, N60°51'042/W153°20'846). From the Hill of Geese (so called for the constant migration of these birds, even in bad weath-


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Puntas Rik (left) and Jimmy Boy. Curro González

Little Horses, on La M. Curro González

Curro González on Pacific Warrior. Gerard van den Berg

er), we approached via a ramp, up to 50°, for 150m to the foot of a narrow gully. In five pitches (210m), we climbed a mixed chimney/gully of ice, snow, and rock to the summit. We made a long rappel down the other side and downclimbed to our skis. Days 2-3. Unstable conditions, so we descended the glacier for 15 miles to new targets. We established camp atop a side glacier, after ascending 600m on 30° slopes while pulling 80kg sleds. Day 4. Day of fun: climbed several things, so we could ski virgin terrain. We also went up 600m (40° max) to a 2,250m col between two needles, which we climbed via their east faces. We called the left needle Punta Rik (60°, with a step of 4+ rock) and the right one Punta Jimmy Boy (60°, 3+ rock) (map section 35, N60°54'634/W153°7'575). Then we climbed the 800m southeast face of the cirque’s highest mountain, with snow to 60° and three or more needles near the summit: Pico Jeanet (2,300m, map section 35, N60°54'880/W153°07'771). We descended on skis (EBA ski difficulty, similar to S3), with some downclimbing. Day 5. Constant avalanches. Day 6. With bad weather forecast and the Redoubt Volcano on the verge of erupting again, we decided to leave. But first we had to climb, full speed ahead. We climbed the south-southwest face of La M (2,100m, map section 31, N60°55'031/W153°05'136), calling our route Little Horses (300m, 5+ A2 WI3). A 250m snow-ice

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ramp (70° max), led to El Collado del Silencio. From there we first climbed the more difficult left needle, a 40m pitch at 5+ A2, and rappelled to the col. We then climbed the 50m right needle, about 6a A0. [Maps at aaj.americanalpineclub.org] Curro González, Spain

Chugach Mountains Mt. Yukla, West Ridge. Rod Hancock and Stuart Parks climbed the Complete West Ridge of Yukla in 2004 for the first ascent, after quite a few local attempts (including a near miss by Charlie Sassara and Marty Schmidt during the winter of 1983-84). They completed the route, which gains 2,050m in elevation, in 11½ hours. I completed the second ascent and first solo (without really any beta) this August, in 11 hours. The route is huge but probably goes at IV 5.7. Samuel Johnson, AAC Toilsome Peak, first ascent; Worrisome Peak, northwest ridge. Ross Noffsinger, David Stchyrba, and I helicoptered with Pollux Aviation to a 5,500' saddle on the ridge northwest of Troublesome Glacier, in the western Chugach, on June 26. We scrambled a mile northeast to Peak 6,325' and found no summit cairn, though it’s been previously ascended (southwest ridge and south face) by Jim Sayler and possibly others. We retraced our route and descended to 4,000' on Troublesome Glacier. From here we made the first ascent of Toilsome Peak (5,250'), via the chossy southern slopes, and the second ascent of Worrisome Peak (5,690'), via a new route (50° snow) up its northwest ridge. We descended Richard Baranow and Sam Pepper’s 2005 southern route. We climbed back up to our landing site and moved camp to Blissful Lake (3,300') at the base of notorious Baleful Peak (7,990'). However, a summer storm had deposited several inches of snow and ice on the 5,000' 4th-class northeast ridge, turning us back at 6,300'. We hiked out to Eklutna Lake over the next two days. Dave Hart, AAC and Mountaineering Club of Alaska “Pass Out Peak,” first ascent; “Far Out Peak,” northwest slopes. 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


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Peak 9,365', approximately 12 miles west of Mt. Saint Elias. From the Bagley Icefield we climbed and skied the northeast face, with 2,000' of relief, numerous large crevasses, and névé snow to 60°. I cut a finger tendon with a pocketknife and had to be evacuated, but Jason and Tory completed the route to the Miles. Ryan Hokanson, AAC

Far Out Peak (left) and Pass Out Peak, with the bivy site (X). Richard Baranow

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.

Eastern Barnard and upper Tittmann Glacier, climbs and exploration. On May 3 Paul Claus flew us from the Ultima Thule Lodge to a 10,500' base camp at the head of the eastern branch of the Barnard Glacier, five miles south of Mt. Bear. We were Brad Gessner, Hans Neidig, Stuart Parks, Wayne Todd, Jeannie Wall, Carrie Wang, and I. Over the next seven days, our group summited several peaks: Peak 12,382' (“Wetterhorn”), east ridge, new route (2nd peak ascent, entire party), AK grade 2. Point 11,500', southwest slopes (entire party) and Peak 11,570', northeast slopes, first ascent (Hart-Wall; repeated by Gessner-Neidig-Parks-Todd-Wang), AK grade 1. Peak 12,850', southwest ramp, new route (Gessner-Parks-Todd-Wang; repeated by HartNeidig-Wall), AK grade 1. Peak 12,007', southwest slopes, first ascent (entire party, AK grade 2). Peak 12,850', traverse via west ridge over Point 12,410' (5th ascent, Hart-Wall, new route, 13 pitches, 50° snow/ice). Paul Claus, Ruedi Homberger, Christine Kopp, Peter Stadler, and Stefan Wyss had previously spent time in this area, making first ascents of Peak 12,382' in 1996 (Ruedi and Paul have clarified that this is the “13,000' border peak just south of Mt. Bear,” as referenced on p.

Richard Baranow and Steve Gruhn, Mountaineering Club of Alaska

Alaska St. Elias Mountains Peak 9,365', first ascent and ski descent, and exploration. In April, Tory Dugan, Jason Kwiatkowski, and I began a month-long kiteassisted ski expedition with a goal of traveling from the Hubbard Glacier to the Miles Glacier, a distance of nearly 200 miles. We skied many couloirs and features along our route, the most notable on April 30, when we made what we believe to be the first ascent and ski descent of

The northeast face of Peak 9,365'. The route of first ascent/descent takes the sun/shade glacier line left of the rock ribs. Ryan Hokanson

Some of the first ascents and new routes on the eastern Barnard Glacier. Dave Hart


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185 of the 1997 AAJ; they called it “Wetterhorn.”) and Peak 12,850' in 1994 (Claus solo). On May 12 Jeannie, Wayne, Carrie, and I flew to a new base camp three miles south at 8,500' on the upper Tittmann Glacier, a spot where Paul Claus had not previously landed. We reached 11,000' on the southwest ridge of unclimbed Peak 11,610', before weather turned us back. Storms More first ascents on the eastern Barnard Glacier. Dave Hart continued until Paul returned for us on May 17. Several more unclimbed peaks in this area beckon, including the challenging Peaks 11,610' and 11,050', the striking Peak 10,455', and walkup Peak 10,385'. Dave Hart, AAC and Mountaineering Club of Alaska Good Neighbor Peak, Southwest Spur, first alpine-style ascent. In the spring, Simon Yates and I did what we thought was the first ascent of the massive Southwest Spur of the South Summit of Mt. Vancouver (Good Neighbor Peak, 15,700') on the Alaska-Yukon border. The line is clearly visible in a Bradford Washburn photo published in the 1994 AAJ, p. 88—the prominent ridge left of Neighbor Peak, with the Southwest Spur on the skyline, and the South Spur climbed by Died- Good the South Spur (Diedrich-Pilling, 1993) the next spur to the right, in rich and Pilling in 1993. We flew the center of the photo. Paul Schweizer in from Haines and were dropped in a high glacial cirque on the Alaskan side, directly below the start of the route. We began climbing at dawn on April 29, soloing the 1,000' headwall at the back of the cirque to reach a col and get established on the ridge. Then we followed the line of least resistance—generally left of the ridge crest. We had perfect weather, and it took five days to reach the summit, with hidden ice runnels and surreal gargoyles near the top. The perfect weather broke during the descent, and we were stormbound on a high col, nearly out of food, on day 6. Day 7 dawned clear, and we continued down the east ridge to a side spur, which entailed a series of unpleasant rappels and a lengthy detour. We finally arrived back in base camp at 10:30 p.m. on day 7. A subsequently unearthed Japanese article revealed that our route was the ridge climbed by a large Japanese expedition in 1968, starting from the Canadian side. They climbed the ridge expedition-style with a 10-member team, using fixed ropes and camps. Three of their team died in the process, and only two reached the summit, after 13 days on the mountain. So

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we actually did the second ascent, but first alpine-style, with a new start from the Alaskan side. It’s an excellent route, very long and committing. Done alpine-style, we reckon it warrants an alpine grade of ED, with climbing up to Scottish grade V ice and VI mixed, and an 8,000' vertical height gain. Paul Schweizer, Alpine Club

Fairweather Range Mt. Bertha, Northwest Ridge; Fifty Years of Alaskan Statehood, South Face. The Johns Hopkins Glacier is one of the major glaciers of the west arm of Glacier Bay, southeast Alaska, and is surrounded by major summits of the Fairweather Range, from Mt. Quincy Adams in the north to Mt. Crillon in the south. Thanks to the local knowledge and enthusiasm of our ski-plane pilot, Paul Swanstrom, in April Guy McKinnon and I became the first climbing party to access this glacier. The price was an inconvenient 2,000' descent, from the landing site on the west shoulder of Mt. Abbe to the 2,000' contour on the south arm of the glacier. A number of earlier parties had been thwarted by the broken The first ascent line on Peak 8,599' (“Fifty Years of Alaskan Statehood”). Paul Knott tidewater area and, from the south and east, by crevasse-strewn cols. The only previous climbs even overlooking the Hopkins Glacier appear to be those in the Mt. Abbe group by the 1977 Wickwire party. (The 1991 Gove-Pilling ascent of Mt. Abbe was on the north side, accessed from the inlet via a side glacier and overlooking Hopkins Inlet.) Our aerial reconnaissance showed problems with icefalls and seracs on the approach and descent from our original objective, the longcoveted north ridge of Mt. Crillon. Instead, we took advantage of the stable forecast to tackle the unclimbed northwest ridge of Mt. Bertha (10,200'). Bradford Washburn’s 1940 party was the first to climb Mt. Bertha, and the mountain had since The remote Mt. Abbe massif, with Peak 7,260' (presumably received three more ascents, all from unclimbed) the obvious spire on the left, as seen from the Norththe Brady Glacier to the east. Four west Ridge of Mt. Bertha. Paul Knott


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miles long and rising 7,100' from the glacier, the undulating northwest ridge turned into a trial of stamina as we successively encountered unconsolidated winter powder, breakable melt-freeze crust, and compressible wind deposits. Long sections of ridge also featured typically exposed southeast Alaskan cornices. We reached the summit on our fourth climbing day, April 26, enjoying panoramic views The Northwest Ridge of Mt. Bertha, from the Johns Hopkins Glacier. from the expansive Brady Ice Cap Paul Knott to the mixed alpine faces of the Mt. Fairweather group. Our descent was rapid, down the same ridge. After two days refueling our bodies at base camp, with continued good weather we tackled the striking unclimbed 8,599' peak that lies north of Mt. Crillon and east of Mt. Orville. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, we propose the unofficial name “Fifty Years of Alaskan Statehood” for this peak, following an old Russian naming tradition. Taking the only amenable line we could see, we waded up isothermic snow on the shallow east rib. We stopped early at our second camp, at 7,560' in the bowl below the upper south face, and spent the day watching avalanches let loose on the face. Early on May 2 we crossed the bergschrund above the bowl and continued up the south face via a couloir and snowed-up rock rib to reach the summit in pre-dawn light. We left a three-foot trench as we descended the lower east rib through wet snow that was close to sliding. With the sea-level pressure falling rapidly, we flew out on May 5, before bad weather set in. The next day, Juneau reverted from record high temperatures to cold, wet, and windy. Paul Knott, New Zealand Knott has written a brief report on the history of attempts to access the John Hopkins Glacier, based on his extensive research for this trip. The report can be found at aaj.americanalpineclub.org

Coast Mountains Mendenhall Towers; Main Tower, Iron Curtain; Tower 4, Resisting A Rest, and Resignation Arête. Alaska has been called the Great White North and the Last Frontier, a land where tough, cold peaks are scaled by gruff, bold climbers. So why was I a thousand feet up a new route sweating through my T-shirt? Sun-burned eyes squinted through the white glare that reflected off glaciers, granite, and my shirtless partner. A thousand feet up a new route in the Mendenhall Towers, we couldn’t believe it. Welcome to southeast Alaska! In mid-July Jason Nelson, from Ouray, CO, joined me on a two-week trip to the Mendenhall and Taku Towers, 30km north of Juneau. We opted for the helicopter approach to the south side of the Mendenhalls on July 9 and began climbing on the 10th. In record-breaking heat we crossed the edge of the glacier, jumped the rapidly melting moat, and headed up the previously climbed Southeast Buttress of the Main Mendenhall Tower (IV 5.10), finding a

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Iron Curtain (left) on the Main Mendenhall Tower, and Resisting A Rest (middle) and Resignation Arête on Tower 4. One previously existing route is thought visible in this photo: the Southeast Buttress of the Main Tower, starting left of the gully left of Iron Curtain. Herrington/Nelson

potentially new 5.10+ splitter headwall pitch to the north of the buttress crest. If this route were located anywhere accessible, it would have frequent traffic. The morning of the 11th we began climbing “the Curtain,” a previously untouched wall that spans the gap between the Main Tower and Tower 4, to the east. The Curtain is the longest, steepest section along the south face of the towers. After eight pitches of clean white granite on the left side of the Curtain, we topped out the wall and turned left. From here we followed Jason Nelson leading a thin-hands splitter up vertical cracks and steps for five more pitches to the the headwall on the Southeast Buttress of the Main Mendenhall Tower. Blake Herrington summit, establishing the Iron Curtain (IV+ 5.12a). Jason’s crux lead pulled a thin-hands roof—something straight out of Indian Creek. After and day of recon, we used consecutive periods of 20-hour daylight to establish two more routes. Resisting A Rest (IV 5.10+) follows a long corner system farther right on the Curtain, crosses a vertical chasm between two towers (one rappel), and finishes with three pitches on the west ridge of Tower 4. We dubbed our final climb the Resignation Arête in honor of Ms. Palin’s sudden departure from the governor’s mansion. It follows the distinct south arête of Tower 4 for 12 pitches, with a 5.11+ crux on the peak’s headwall.


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Two days of walking, skiing, rappelling, crevasse jumping, bushwhacking, and hitchhiking brought us back to the stormy Alaskan capital, where we accepted the generous hospitality of our friend Ryan Johnson. This trip would not have been possible without help from the AAC’s Mountain Fellowship Grant. Blake Herrington, AAC

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Stikine Ice Cap, new routes and first ascents. Climbing from the Baird Glacier’s unnamed south arm (“Burkett Glacier” to climbers) in June, Max Hasson and Jens Holsten made several impressive ascents. They made a free ascent of Burkett Needle (ca 8,500') via a new variation (5.10+) to the 2,500' South Pillar (V 5.10 A3+, Cauthorn-Collum-Foweraker, 1995); did the first ascent of Silly Wizard Peak (ca 7,350') via the Thriller Arête (southwest arête, 3,000', 5.7X 50°); first ascent of the northwest ridge (3,000', 5.8 M4) of Mt. Suzanne (ca 7,190'); and a huge new route, National Public Ridge direct south ridge; 5,700', 5.10R AI3) on Mt. Burkett (9,730'). See Holsten’s feature article earlier in this Journal. Burkett Needle, Smash and Grab; Pipsqueak Peak, East Ridge. Three years ago Fred Beckey pulled out his little black book (actually a tattered FedEx envelope) and showed me a blownout photocopy of the unclimbed west side of Burkett Needle. Of course, no tactical information could be gained from scrutinizing the fuzzy blobs and lines on the page, but it showed that half of an amazing peak on the Stikine Ice Cap remained overlooked. That summer Fred, Micah Lambeth, and I flew to Petersburg and then helicoptered in to the Burkett Boulder. During that trip Micah and I attempted the west ridge of the Needle and, on July 4, 2006, climbed the East Ridge (5.7) of a 6,700' pyramidal-shaped rock peak. This peak, which we dubbed Pipsqueak Peak, is situated on the left (west) side of the major col west of the Needle. It took several summers for everything to align, but on July 3 John Frieh and I caught a helicopter flight with Wally from Temsco Air in to the Burkett Boulder. The weather was set to be absolutely gorgeous for at least the next two days. We quickly packed in the afternoon sun and hiked east a quarter-mile to the base of a ridge that allows access to the upper glacier under the Needle. We followed the scrambly ridge (3rd and 4th class) for 1,800' to a small, flat campsite on a knife-edge ridge. On the morning of the 4th we left camp and climbed the glacier to the base of the South Pillar (Cauthorn-Collum-Foweraker, 1995). From here we traversed on steep snow into a couloir that led to the col at the base of the unclimbed west ridge. One long mixed pitch (M4) got us onto the rock. From here we simul-climbed perfect granite along the crest for many enjoyable pitches (up to 5.8). Higher, we climbed two tricky mixed pitches (M4) to the top of the false summit, then made a short rappel to a col below the imposing summit pinnacle. A short knife-edge traverse with great exposure led to two more fantastic rock pitches, following cracks up and right toward the summit (5.6). A final pitch up an icy fist crack and the last dollop of snow led us to the summit. We rappelled the beautiful South Pillar route, touching down in the hot-pink glow of the setting sun. We named our route Smash and Grab (IV 5.8 M4), after Dieter Klose’s expression for climbers who smash into town and grab a summit before the Stikine’s clouds realize what’s happened. Dave Burdick, AAC

Burkett Needle: (1) South Pillar (Cauthorn-Collum-Foweraker, 1995), with (v) the 2009 Hasson-Holsten free variation. Not shown, on the steep face to the right, is the Heaton-Reichert 1995 attempt (see topo, AAJ 1996, p. 182) which ends high on what soon became the South Pillar; and Le Voyage des Clochards Celestes (Daudet-Foissac, 1999), which traverses into the face from the col on the right (the pillar rising east from the col is a sub-spire of Mt. Burkett). (2) Smash and Grab (Burdick-Frieh, 2009). John Scurlock


Alaska Reports AAJ 2010