West Face III, 60-degree snow or ice

  • Currently 5.0/5

Mount Silverthrone

Alaska, USA

Trip Report
Silverthrone West Face
Saturday May 4, 2013 1:56pm
1 day from park entrance to the McKinley river.
1 day to the foothills.
1 day to McGonagall pass.
1 day across the Muldrow and up the Traleika to base camp about an hour from the route.
Day 1 on route: Left 6 am, headed to the end of Traleika Col and ascended the couloir tucked back in there that goes directly to the summit. Summitted around 7 and dug a snow cave.
Day 2: left 6 am, back to camp at 1:30pm.

Beautiful country.

Credit: elliott.will
Credit: elliott.will
Credit: elliott.will
Credit: elliott.will
Credit: elliott.will
Credit: elliott.will
Credit: elliott.will

  Trip Report Views: 1,834
About the Author
elliott.will is from Wasilla, AK and Sacramento, CA.

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Jay Hack

Trad climber
Detroit, Michigan
  May 4, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
Awesome! A proper Alaskan Adventure...well done lads.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 4, 2013 - 10:08pm PT
Very nice, Thank YOU!!~!!!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 4, 2013 - 10:24pm PT
holy sheep deep that's a long ways in

Social climber
  May 4, 2013 - 10:28pm PT
Wow. Just wow. Thanks for your tr.

Mountain climber
  May 5, 2013 - 01:28am PT

The Granite State.
  May 5, 2013 - 05:37pm PT

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  May 5, 2013 - 07:34pm PT
Thanks for the real deal . . . nice effort!

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
  May 5, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
Very cool, such beautiful country.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
  May 5, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
Thanks Elliot. Add more of your gorgeous and valuable photos please!!

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  May 5, 2013 - 10:17pm PT
What a great and uncommon trip. What time of year was this? September?

Gym climber
  May 5, 2013 - 09:39pm PT

Trad climber
  May 5, 2013 - 10:17pm PT

Mountain climber
Portland, OR
  May 7, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
Nice work, guys. I loved the Traleika when I was there in 1983. Definitely one of the most isolated spots I've ever been. We approached a bit differently, and much earlier in the season, skiing from the Anchorage/Fairbanks highway up the Chulitna River to the West Fork glacier, cross Anderson Pass onto the Muldrow Glacier, and finally crossing into the Ruth from the head of the Traleika. It took us 7 days to go from the highway to the head of the Traleika. Here's our TR:


These days overland approaches are becoming a rarity. Great to see that the foot-powered expedition is alive and well!


Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  May 7, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
Nice! I don't even want to know what your packs weighed.

OK. I lied. How much did they weigh? Did you hike in, in your summit boots? No way I would have used plastics!


Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  May 7, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
Beautiful and magnificent!

Trad climber
Pleasant Hill, CA
  May 8, 2013 - 08:54pm PT
My first thought was, Man that's a long way to carry climbing gear.

And then I scrolled...


Mountain climber
Wasilla, AK
Author's Reply  May 8, 2013 - 09:08pm PT
You walked to Mt. Huntington from the Parks Highway?! That's amazing. I was born in '83 and grew up about 50 mi south of your start point. I posted these pictures because it's such a beautiful area, but your story is the real deal.

A couple snippets, in case anyone missed the link:

"I was alive and uninjured after the 100 foot fall."

"I kept the radio inside my bag to keep the batteries warm, and my toes outside the bag to keep them frozen."

Mountain climber
Wasilla, AK
Author's Reply  May 8, 2013 - 09:13pm PT
Erik: we wore running shoes and carried plastic boots on the way in. I think my pack was 70 lbs, 25 of which was food. About a hundred more photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/elliott.will/Silverthrone

  May 9, 2013 - 02:20am PT
Fricken awesome. Damn I miss Alaska!

Mountain climber
Portland, OR
  May 9, 2013 - 11:45am PT
Hey Elliot,

Thanks for the shout out. We actually skied in and out three times; once as described on the ill-fated trip in '83 to Mt. Huntington, once up the Buckskin and out through the Peter's Hills in '80, and once up the Kanakula in '85. They were all excellent adventures, but the 1980 trip was the most ambitious and covered the most ground. We were 80 days in the range and skied over 200 miles. Here's the TR link:


But for the record, my old partner Scott Woolums pulled off the most mega foot-powered Alaska Range excursion... Scott was part of a group that did a ski traverse of the whole Alaska Range in 1981. They started at Mentasta Lake near Tok Junction, and finished in the Kichatna Spires. It took them 45 days to cover the 350-400 miles of the range. And when they got to the Kichatna’s they spent a couple of weeks climbing there.

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Mount Silverthrone - West Face III, 60-degree snow or ice - Alaska, USA. Click to Enlarge
An overview of the line.
Photo: Joe Puryear