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West Face Direct "Itinerary Not Recommended"

 
West Face Direct "Itinerary Not Recommended"

Page Type: Route

Location: Alaska, United States, North America

Object Title: West Face Direct "Itinerary Not Recommended"

Route Type: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

Time Required: One to two days

Difficulty: AI 3, 60 degree snow

Number of Pitches: 4000

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Laron

Created/Edited: Jul 18, 2012 / Aug 23, 2012

Object ID: 800928

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Overview

The west side of Silverthrone also offers some great climbing on steeper, more technical terrain. At least three different routes have been done on this side of the mountain.

Getting There

Instead of going east and south across the Muldrow to the Brooks Glacier, head straight south from McGonagall Pass to the Traleika Glacier and follow the Traleika south about 9 miles. There, the Traleika splits into three glaciers. Good camping abounds on the Traleika and we camped on the medial moraine.

To approach the West Face, go left (east) from the Traleika into a little pocket glacier. Be wary of objective dangers as they are really high on this pocket glacier. All three sides above the glacier have hanging seracs. Moreover, we saw each of the three sides avalanche while we spent three days up there.

Once in the cirque, stay right going around an ice fall and up to the headwall. Gain a thin left slanting snow and ice gully which eventually gains the upper snow/ice face leading to the summit.

Route Description

Ascent
Once over the bergschrund, lengthen the rope for 4000 feet of moderately technical terrain. The first 2000 feet go up a thin snow/ice gully. Steep snow and some AI 3 terrain lead you to the upper snow/ice face. The last 2000 feet go up the snow/ice face to the summit, and continue with sections of AI3 and 60degree snow. You can gain the SW ridge at any point and it offers steep ridge climbing. We climbed about 400 feet of this ridge before reaching the summit and found it rather challenging snow with cornices forming on the south side.

Descent
Once on the summit, head down a much more moderate snow face in a NNW direction eventually meeting up with the West Ridge. Be aware of crevasses the whole length of the ridge. After passing over Pt. 11,270, there's a bit of knife edge ridge which leads you down to the exit couloir. The exit couloir is an arrow-looking one which goes down to the pocket glacier in a couple thousand feet of up to 45 degree snow.

Essential Gear

We brought 3 pickets and 4 ice screws and found that to be sufficient for the climb.
-3 pickets
-4 ice screws
-glacier gear
-1 or 2 60m ropes
-helmet
-crampons
-ice tools (you could probably get away with an ice axe and a tool if you're a good ice climber and confident in doing so)

External Links

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Images

Silverthrone\'s West FaceTraleika BasecampDenaliDangersDescenton routeBrooks to Silverthrone
hiking into the AK Range