Best Ascent in Alaskan History?


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May 31, 2008 - 10:33pm PT
"It is hard to believe that Stuck, a minister, would have recorded seeing a flagstaff that wasn't there."
next thing you will tell me is it is hard to beleive a priest would ever grab a choir boy, a president would lie to the country and that britney wasn't white as snow when she said she was...
if you read what they claimed to do and take into account the gear they had, and examine the terrain-the sourdough coliour is steep-45 degree ice and the number of miles to be done unacclimatizd- it all sounds like a good old camp fire tale.
to each there own, some take the book of mormon, the bible, and the koran literally. they obviosily all can't be right.

in terms of the first winter ascent of denali. sad to say this, but the reason they had such an epic was self-caused. you do know after they lost a member to a crevasse fall they continued to walk about unroped, that camping at denali pass, is ummm, absurd. not taking away from their fight for survival, and the good read, just not exactly a "best" ascent nominee...
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 1, 2008 - 12:45am PT
Umm, I don't have any dog in the fight, in terms of whether or not the sourdoughs got to the top of the north peak in 1910. Also, I'm not at all religious, and am well aware that people who are ostensibly religious may not live up to their supposed beliefs. Though that doesn't seem to be the case with reverend Stuck and his teammates.

I was merely mentioning that many believe that the sourdoughs did get up the north peak, and the reasons why they believe it. The reasons seem plausible to me. A flagstaff seen three years later, added to the account provided by the sourdoughs, is fairly convincing. Stuck had no motive to lie, nor did his teammates. Quite the opposite. Their ascent would likely have been seen as even more impressive had they not seen, or said they hadn't seen, the flagstaff.

Whether the sourdoughs' route, in the conditions they had, was beyond their skill and equipment, isn't for me to say. As it's now almost a century later, unless new physical evidence appears, it's mostly speculation.

Jun 1, 2008 - 03:18am PT
I know there is no way to prove that cessen didn't do what he said he did, but people question it. I just find it interesting that the same degree of scrunity is not given to the sourdoughs considering their claims, and know history of lying. I'd drag a 14 foot spruce pole up there and see how long it lasts, but its mighty hard to get around dragging a 14 foot spruce pole. was dragging a ten foot pole around my yard today-clean brush-and that was a pain as is.
I have been to the north summit of denali-and have no desire to drag a tree up there.

sous le toit
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 4, 2008 - 05:51pm PT

Trad climber
Homer, AK
Jul 5, 2014 - 02:14pm PT
Keepin it fresh, Waterman's style was insane but no one mentioned the unrepeated Ridge of No Return. Soloed in alpine style by Renatto Casarotto in 13 days, pretty techy and ballsy.

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Jul 5, 2014 - 02:54pm PT
or maybe the Elevator Shaft(Backes/Twight)

not sure what Elevator Shaft you're talking about, but Team Backes/Twight weren't players

Jul 6, 2014 - 08:52am PT
Elevator Shaft was done by Jack Tackle and Doug Chabot in '92. Heckuva a climb.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Jul 6, 2014 - 09:30am PT
Best alaskan Climbs were all done in the yukon. FA logan, FA St Elias ( bonus style points with the the dukes bed!) FA Humingbird Ridge and FA Arctic Discipline on Mt Kennedy.

Sorry Septic Tanks, thats just the way it rolls. However you can take solace in the fact the the people involved were damn near all American!

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Jul 6, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
A couple historical accuracy corrections and updates to above:

-Elevator Shaft FA was in 1995, not 1992

-Ridge of No Return was repeated by a French team about 10 years ago. Same team also climbed the French (NW) ridge of Huntington on the same trip, evidently they enjoyed cornice climbing.

I hesitate to brand any one single climb 'best' as it's so subjective and there's so many great and inspiring ascents. I think the discussion is the whole point.

That being said, the Infinite Spur is a strong contender considering the style in which it was climbed, in the era it happened, notwithstanding its seriousness and difficulty.
Scott McNamara

Tucson, Arizona
Jul 6, 2014 - 02:30pm PT
Stewart Johnson

lake forest
Jul 6, 2014 - 08:13pm PT
the phantom wall on mt huntington
the phantom wall on mt huntington
Credit: Bradford Washburn
Self patronizing the
Phantom Wall
Unrepeated .
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