West Face, Kahiltna Queen IV, 60-degree ice and snow


Alaska, USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 8-14 hours
Approach time: 3-4 hours
Descent time: 3-6 hours
Number of pitches: 13
Height of route: 2,000'
Kahiltna Queen (12,380’) often gets overlooked, standing amidst its more famous neighbors of Mount Hunter, Mount Huntington, and the South Buttress of Denali. But it is very significant, being the triple divide peak of three of the greatest glaciers in the range: the Kahiltna, the Ruth, and the Tokositna. It is only at this summit that all three of these glaciers meet simultaneously. It is similarly shaped to Mount Huntington and slightly taller, but its summit does not rise as far above its connecting ridges, giving it less overall prominence. Kahiltna Queen’s East Ridge actually goes on to become Mount Huntington’s Northwest Ridge. The peak was originally given the name Humble Peak in 1977 by its first ascensionist but because of its commanding position as viewed from Base Camp it is now more commonly referred to as Kahiltna Queen.

There are only five reported routes on the peak, with many opportunities for development. Dominating the head of the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier is the peak’s West Face. This is by far the most often seen and climbed aspect. A broad couloir splits up its right side, providing a natural passage through the steep and rocky upper slopes. This excellent climb is a great warmup for harder routes in the range or it may be a culmination of several of the Base Camp area climbs that can provide for a climbing trip by themselves.
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Kahiltna Queen - West Face IV, 60-degree ice and snow - Alaska, USA. Click to Enlarge
An overview of the line.
Photo: Joe Puryear
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