Trip Report
University Peak FA Continuing Education
Monday November 21, 2011 9:33am
Seems like there's been a few alpine climbing threads lately so...

Last April Kevin Ditzler and I flew into the Hawkins Glacier looking for something. We weren't really sure what we were after but after a few days we decided on the 8,500 foot south west face on University Peak. We spent a night near the base of the face and headed up the next day.
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We climbed for about 36 hours straight thinking we'd find some kind of a ledge to put the tent on but never did. It took hours to chop out the first ledge. Our lack of sleep didn't speed it up any. Finally with the tent up we got some sleep.
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The next few days kinda blended together. Endless grade 3 ice with the occasional grade 4 step. We topped out on the ridge crest in the middle of the night on the fourth day.
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It took two more days to go from the ridge creast over the summit and down the North Ridge. We pitched the tent in Beaver Basin at the base of the North Ridge and waited for the air plane. We had no idea how long we would be waiting. Nobody knew where we were. Before we left the Hawkins we left a note in the tent for Paul Claus. All we could do was hope he found our note. After four long days of very minimal water and no food Paul showed up and flew us out.
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  Trip Report Views: 3,497
johnkelley
About the Author
johnkelley is a climber from Anchorage Alaska.

Comments
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Nov 21, 2011 - 10:32am PT
very impressive effort ! i think you better chime in as an expert on Donini's " so you want to be an alpine climber " thread. that sounds like a very committing adventure. good job
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Nov 21, 2011 - 10:53am PT
^^^^^++++

I was thinking the same thing.
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Nov 21, 2011 - 10:57am PT
This is the real deal. Fantastic.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Nov 21, 2011 - 11:56am PT
Paul's a character, eh? He flew us into Bona in '91.

Wow, wild climb. That peak looks uber gnarly (dude).

More photo's!

Thanks.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Nov 21, 2011 - 12:05pm PT
That peak looks a lot like K2.
John Mac

Trad climber
Breckenridge, CO
  Nov 21, 2011 - 01:54pm PT
Wow, classic looking peak and great adventure.

Where was your line?

10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Nov 21, 2011 - 01:59pm PT
nice job. thanks for the trip report
d-know

Trad climber
electric lady land
  Nov 21, 2011 - 02:44pm PT
fuk yeah!!!
8500 ft. face.
36 hour push
to the
first bivi.
i am
humbled by
your
success.


Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Nov 21, 2011 - 02:26pm PT
VERY NICE! Please post more alpine routes if you can!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Nov 21, 2011 - 02:28pm PT
Nice report.
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  Nov 21, 2011 - 03:48pm PT
After four long days of very minimal water and no food Paul showed up and flew us out.

Now that DOES sound inconvenient. YIKES.
Zander

climber
  Nov 21, 2011 - 03:58pm PT
Very nice! Thanks for posting.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Nov 21, 2011 - 04:00pm PT
Here's a few more of the endless ice, calf burning hell and one of Beaver Basin.
rbob

climber
  Nov 21, 2011 - 04:02pm PT
University peak is the real deal!

Largely unknown, but one of the most serious peaks in Alaska.

How many times have people stood on the top of that thing? I know that it has been skied. Maybe one of the craziest ski descents of this era!

johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Nov 21, 2011 - 04:09pm PT
It's got two other routes on it. The North Ridge and the Third Semester on the East face.

The ski descent line, the south face, wasn't from the summit. I think they stopped near the top of the south face and skied from there. It's about a 7,000 foot ski run.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Nov 21, 2011 - 04:15pm PT
Great TR. Now if only the Sierra Nevada's University Peak had a route like that!

Thanks so much for such a fine post.

John
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Nov 21, 2011 - 04:56pm PT
Way to go on the understatement!

Great looking climbing on glistening water ice. 8500 feet of that would burn your calves, even with a night of "sleep" on that little carved-out ledge.

Where in AK is that? I just spent four days in the Valley climbing with two strong Alaskan women guides, and after all their stories I'd like to hear more.

Yeah, and I too was thinking of University Peak in the Sierra. Definitely some FA possibilities there too...
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Nov 21, 2011 - 05:25pm PT
Doug, its in the U.S. side of the St. Elias range, just south of Mount Bona. East of McCarthy.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Nov 21, 2011 - 05:48pm PT
Would you be able to draw your line on the photo of the face you climbed please? Just for interest. Looks like a cool route to try some day.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Nov 21, 2011 - 06:16pm PT
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Nov 21, 2011 - 06:24pm PT
Totally Awesome, Quite an incredible FA, Way to go and thanks for sharing!!!!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Nov 21, 2011 - 08:25pm PT
BAM! Now thats a Trip Report. Way to bust out the gnar and keep it all cool hand luke with the casual write-up. A real inspiration.
NFB

Mountain climber
Wilson, Wyoming
  Nov 25, 2011 - 07:21pm PT
like...

very much...

thanks for cool photos!
climbski2

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Nov 25, 2011 - 09:42pm PT
One of the better lines done in Alaska period. Bigtime Grats. April gets those longer high pressure systems but still that many days on the face would have me rubbing my lucky weather rabbits foot for sure.

Way way solid new FA.

Dude you are tearing it up. 100+ years of serious alpinism and Alaska has not even begun to be scratched for it's possibilities.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
https://nutagain.org
  Feb 4, 2019 - 08:29pm PT
Any chance to get some picture links refreshed?
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
  Feb 4, 2019 - 09:06pm PT
Moment of synchronicity to see John's post here today. John is a full week overdue in Nepal. He's in the Langtang region. Climbing solo, no InReach. That's all I know. If I hear more will let you know~
F

climber
away from the ground
  Feb 4, 2019 - 09:16pm PT
He just got picked up by chopper a couple hours ago. No news other than that right now.
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
  Feb 4, 2019 - 09:24pm PT
Really great news!
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
  Feb 5, 2019 - 01:42am PT
Regarding skiing University Peak
https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/325331-The-FIFTY
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Feb 5, 2019 - 03:31am PT
Gotta say I was shocked to have a helicopter land beside my tent this morning while I was making coffee... Iím not really sure who decided I was overdue? My permit is good for another two and a half weeks. Back in KTM now for some reason?

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 6, 2019 - 09:44am PT
Hey John- Do us all a favor and consider reposting all of your photos from this outing in the OP if you would be so kind.
This is such an inspiring thread! Way to get after it man.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Feb 6, 2019 - 10:38am PT
Maybe but itís hard to want to put them up again after a few were stolen and used (illegally btw) to acquire climbing grants from the AAC, Polartec, Mugs Stump Award, and the Mazamas...

In the end Polartec were the only oneís who had the guts to admit any wrong doing on their part. The only ones to offer any apology.

Iíll never support the AAC, the Mugs Stump Awards, or the Mazamas as a result
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 6, 2019 - 11:18am PT
Very sorry to hear that John and those involved should be ashamed of themselves. They should have contacted you for permission as that is the most minimal effort that is at all acceptable.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Feb 6, 2019 - 07:04pm PT
They were told by me NOT to use my photo and agreed but decided to do so anyway.... the AAC and the Mugs Stumps Awards committee didnít see any wrong doing in this despite the fact itís against the law...
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Author's Reply  Feb 6, 2019 - 07:21pm PT

Hereís one Kevin took of the 1st bivi. Itís the only one I have access to at the moment.
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