Major First Ascent in Alaska
3/29/11 - Clint Helander and Scotty Vincik have completed the first ascent of Mt. Mausolus in the Revelation Mountains, at the far southwestern end of the Alaska Range. At 9,170 feet (2,795m), Mausolus is diminutive by Alaskan standards, but its complex west face rises 4,500 feet, with the upper 2,500 feet consisting of continuous steep water ice. Helander and Vincik climbed the face over two days (March 15 and 16), and then descended the route through the night and following day.
Helander had attempted Mausolus in 2010 with Seth Holden, with whom he had done three trips to the Revelations and had made the first ascent of two peaks. But the weather was too warm for safe climbing last year. This time, as Helander and Vincik flew into the range, they were thrilled to see perfect conditions: a narrow ribbon of ice plunging from the summit.
After simul-climbing 2,000 feet of steep snow, the two began pitching out water-ice pitches, sparsely protected with their light rack. In the evening, they bivied about 1,000 feet below the top on a tiny snow mushroom and butt-rock, with slings and ropes tied around them to serve as quasi-hammocks. After a cold night without hot food or water, they continued up more steep ice, encountering several WI5 pitches, and reached the top in the late evening. They paused to light the stove and melt snow for their first warm drinks in 36 hours, and then began rappelling in the dark at around 10 p.m. After 12 to 15 rappels and down-climbing, at 7 a.m., they reached a snow cave at 6,800 feet where they had stashed sleeping bags, and they slept all day there before continuing down to the foot of the face the next evening.
Holden, who had been Helander's regular climbing partner, died in a plane crash last August, and Helander scattered his ashes on the summit. He and Vincik called the route The Mausoleum.
Dates of Ascent: March 15–17, 2011
Source: Clint Helander