Glacier Bay Climbing
Glacier Bay National Park lies in SE Alaska, and the Johns Hopkins Glacier – although possibly never previously visited by climbers – is one of its major glaciers, surrounded by the major summits of the Fairweather Range. This team hoped to make the first ascent of the N Ridge of Mt Crillon (3879m) and then complete a traverse of the mountain, but aerial reconnaissance from their ski-plane approach revealed serious icefalls and séracs: they therefore decided to attempt the unclimbed 6 km NW Ridge of Mt Bertha (3110m) instead. From their drop point at 1200m on the broad snowy west shoulder of Mt Abbe, their trip started with a difficult descent to the south arm of the glacier: after 2 days to recover, it took them 4 days of unusually good weather to reach the summit of Mt Bertha – probably only the fifth team to do so. With time to spare, they then made the first ascent of the striking Peak 8599ft (2621m), which lies N of Mt Crillon and E of Mt Orville, proposing the (strictly unofficial) name of ‘Fifty Years of Alaskan Statehood’ in line with Russian tradition.