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Ascent of Korohusk Peak on 2020-06-07

Climber: Andrew Holman

Others in Party:Abbey Collins -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, June 7, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Korohusk Peak
    Location:USA-Alaska
    Elevation:7030 ft / 2142 m

Ascent Trip Report

We camped at Echo Bend Saturday night to make a weekend of it. After waking up every hour thinking it was time to wake up, we eventually did. We started in on the trail around 4:45am, found the right cutoff this time (after an unsuccessful attempt a few weeks ago) and began moving up.

Weather was sunny and beautiful as we exited the brush and entered the moraine. Going up the mountain proper was…more than a little miserable. Snow wasn't of the best quality in the middle section of the climb, the scree was some of the worst I've ever been on. Loose, in a dangerous sort of way. BIG detached blocks along with the usually softballs sized portable hand-holds. This would be a horrible peak to be behind a faster party on. The route was less straight forward than I was expecting. There were a couple times where we had to "switch gullies" to avoid getting cliffed out. (we followed Nate Bannish's excellent GPS file, we would not have fared very well without it) Luckily, none of this terrain is 5th class, which makes putting up with it a bit less consequential.

The final push to the summit proper required about 100 ft of front-pointing, I kinda wished I had my whippet in addition to my ice axe for that part. (too firm to use "self-belay" technique with the whole shaft, pick only. Side bar: why whippet broke in two on another Chugach climb, my BD trekking pole I took for this climb…also broke in two descending this mountain, good times.)

The summit was warm. In a surreal way. It felt like I had handwarmers in my vest pockets. We drank some summit beers and took some photos. Clouds crept in and out, but eventually we got great views of Ram Valley, Rumble, Kiliak, Bellicose (wow, that face), and many others. The drop off the north side looks just as insane as it does from down in Ram Valley, wow. Luckily we stayed far back from the numerous cornices. Eventually, we began to descend.

We found slightly easier downclimbing with less front-pointing closer to the corniced ridge. Just as we were getting out of the 3rd/4th class scree mess and back onto the lower snow slopes, we heard thunder. Dark clouds were clogging up the peaks in the area. Hurdy Gurdy, Cantata, Eagle, and Polar Bear were now shrouded in black. We started (carefully, riding our ice axes to go slow, lots of hidden rock fall on the slopes) glissading to save some time. When we hit the moraine, it started hailing.

Abbey joked: “good thing we still have our helmets on!”. I laughed and thought “hail is cute, it usually pours for 5 minutes and is gone…”

That was not the case. It hailed for probably the next hour. I couldn’t look back at Abbey without getting pelted in the eyes. When we reached the tree-line, the climber’s trail looked like it was painted white. We slipped and fell. A lot. I wished we had micro spikes.

I don’t have any pictures of the hail since I took my light camera, and it’s not very well sealed to the elements, and my GoPro battery was dead. Everything got soaked through. My pack reminded me of how it used to look when I’d climb Mt Hood in bad weather, almost like it had been coated in rime ice.

Thanks, again, to Nate Bannish’s GPS line, we were able to navigate quickly and efficiently back to the Crow Pass trail. Sun returned to the valley and the peaks and it looked like nothing ever happened. The only reminder wash the gently squishing of water in our boots. (and the wet tent that waited for us to pack)

And the biggest thanks, to Abbey for being a great partner that’s always game for peak bagging, rain or shine or Biblical hail-plague be damned!
Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:Class 4
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Tent Camp
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy



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