Trip Report
North Duke Taku Range
Monday July 21, 2014 7:12pm
Here's a short TR from what may be the FA of North Duke Peak.

Credit: johnkelley
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.

Credit: johnkelley
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.

Credit: johnkelley
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.

Credit: johnkelley
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.

Credit: johnkelley
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.

Credit: johnkelley
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.

  Trip Report Views: 1,163
About the Author
johnkelley is a climber from Anchorage Alaska.

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Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 21, 2014 - 08:39pm PT
Congrats, seems like a cool peak way off the beaten path. Be careful with those solo glacier crossings! Not that you need my advice, but I'd love to continue reading about your FAs in the future! Awesome stuff.

  Jul 21, 2014 - 08:43pm PT
Ballsy sh#t on the solo. Well done

Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Jul 21, 2014 - 09:12pm PT
Credit: johnkelley

Here's the peak just north of North Duke Peak. I think it's unclimbed?

Credit: johnkelley

The north side of the Mendenhall Towers from the summit of North Duke Peak

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 21, 2014 - 09:14pm PT
Nice to live in an area with so much virgin! Don't leave anything for the next generation!

Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Jul 21, 2014 - 09:53pm PT
I'm trying not too...

I used Jim Woodmancy/ Mountain Weather for the weather forecasting as usual. His forcast was dead on just like always. I'd highly recommend his service. It'll cost you a few dollars but it's money well spent.

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 21, 2014 - 10:26pm PT
Awesome, thanks for taking the time to share with the rest of us!

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jul 22, 2014 - 10:54am PT

burly indeed!!

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
  Jul 22, 2014 - 11:05am PT
Sweet! I love the look of granite teeth poking out of the endless white of glacier & cloud. Thanks for sharing.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 22, 2014 - 06:22pm PT
Killin it, good job!!!!!

Sport climber
Sonora Ca
  Jul 23, 2014 - 05:32pm PT
thats refreshing

Mountain climber
  Jul 24, 2014 - 10:22am PT
Nice job. I don't know of any other ascents of either North Duke or the point to the north in your picture.
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