Here's a short TR from what may be the FA of North Duke Peak.
North Duke Peak. The North Ridge follows the left hand skyline.
I was pretty lucky to get flown in. It wasn't looking good with thick fog and a cloudy sky but Jason, from Temsco Helicopters, was able to drop me off at the base of North Duke at around 7:30am last Saturday.
Camp spot below North Duke with South Duke in the background.
I set up my tent, crawled inside, and had a quick cup of coffee and breakfast. While I was sitting there I decided to attempt the North Ridge of North Duke Peak. I believed this peak to be previously unclimbed. It was a toss up between the north or south ridge but I decided to go north.
Standing in the col at the base of the North Ridge.
It took a few hours to 3rd class the 1,200' ridge. There were a few spots of 5.6 with some great exposure. The rest was a low 5th class/4th class scramble.
Summit of North Duke looking south.
I made six raps with one 200' rope and down climbed the rest to descend.
Got back to the tent an hour or two before the rain and fog rolled back in.
Here comes the fog.
I had a scheduled pickup flight out the next day but after one look outside I knew that wasn't happening. I loaded up my pack, took a compass bearing off of the map, and started the ski to the Mendenhall Glacier. The crux of the trip was skiing down the icefall from the Taku Glacier to the North Fork of the Mendenhall Glacier in a whiteout. Wow there's some big holes in there. Near the end of the North Fork of the Mendenhall the weather cleared a little.
Looking up the North Fork of the Mendenhall.
Made it to "dog camp" by early afternoon. The caretaker there let me hang inside their staff tent, gave me hot coffee, offered me lunch, and called my pilot for a pick up. I hung out with the "dog camp" staff for a few hours until the clouds lifted a little more and was able to fly out a few hours later.