Major New Route on the Angel in Alaska
7/22/13 - Scott Bennett and Graham Zimmerman have climbed a major new route on the Angel (9,260'), one of the premier peaks of Alaska's Revelation Mountains. The pair climbed the east buttress over two days, completing the third ascent of the mountain.
The Angel was famously attempted by David Roberts and fellow climbers from the Harvard Mountaineering Club during a 1967 expedition that made the first technical climbs in this remote corner of the Alaska Range. Along with numerous first ascents of other peaks, Roberts and teammates made six attempts on the Angel but came up short. The peak was not climbed until 1985, when Greg Collins and Tom Walter followed the south side of the east buttress to the top. Last spring, Ben Trocki and Clint Helander, the premier explorer of the Revelations in recent years, completed the south ridge that was attempted repeatedly by the Harvard Mountaineering Club to make the mountain's second ascent.
Bennett and Zimmerman chose to visit the Revelations after permit problems and the Nanga Parbat massacre derailed their plans to climb in Pakistan. Their summertime trip to Alaska would come after the prime spring season for ice and mixed climbs, and to get into the range after snowmelt made ski-plane access impossible, they helicoptered 1.5 hours on a new Talkeetna Air Taxi chopper. They began climbing on July 13, ascending a "beautiful granite wall" for about 2,000 feet, with difficulties to 5.10. (The two led and followed every pitch free.) After a bivouac on top of the buttress, they followed classic alpine ridge terrain to the summit, likely joining the 1985 first-ascent route along the way. They then descended to the north by rappels and downclimbing. Poor weather and damaged ropes kept them in camp until they flew out on July 21.
In addition to their gear sponsors, the two climbers were backed by a Mugs Stump Award and a grant from the New Zealand Alpine Club Expedition Fund.
The success of this summertime visit to the Revelations, along with the new possibility of helicopter access, opens up more options in an Alaskan range that is ripe with exploratory climbing objectives. In the 2013 American Alpine Journal (available next month), Clint Helander will reveal intriguing objectives on many of the range's great peaks. You can see more photos from the Angel and the Revelations at Bennett's blog.
Dates of ascent: July 13-14, 2013
Source: Graham Zimmerman, Ropeandsummit.wordpress.com