Mount Everest Foundation
Supporting the exploratory

British St Elias Range

This team was originally hoping to make the first ascent of the West Ridge of Mount Hubbard (4577m) in the remote Wrangell St Elias Range on the Yukon border with Alaska. However, when they heard that this had already been climbed, at the suggestion of local activist Jack Tackle, they turned their attention to Mt Vancouver – in particular the 2400m SW Spur of its S summit, Good Neighbor Peak (4850m), which forms the border between Alaska and Canada. (Although previously climbed by a large Japanese team in 1968, this had been from the Canadian side in very snowy conditions, and used fixed ropes for most of its length. Three team members were killed in avalanche.) After negotiating problems concerning bush pilots crossing the border, they were eventually dropped by ski plane in a small glacial basin at the base of the ridge, where they set up their base camp. From here, climbing in strictly alpine-style over a period of five days they followed the west side of the ridge up 3000m of ice and mixed climbing to the summit. This was very serious and committing climbing (overall Alpine ED with up to Scottish V ice and 6 mixed), with retreat virtually impossible in the second half. Moving east along the frontier ridge, they reached the top of the original line on Good Neighbor, the 1967 Centennial Route on the SE Spur, which they descended over two days in storm conditions.

April - May 2009
Simon Yates with Paul Schweitzer

Other expeditions nearby