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Ascent of Iliamna Volcano on 2016-05-13

Climber: Ben Still

Date:Friday, May 13, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Iliamna Volcano
    Location:USA-Alaska
    Elevation:10016 ft / 3052 m

Ascent Trip Report

Some photos

A great three day adventure! We were flown up to 3800' on the Tongue Glacier on Friday the 13th on the western side of Iliamna Volcano. Dave Hart, Lee Helzer and myself were on the first flight and Wayne Todd and Carrie Wang were on the second flight 45 minutes one way from Nikiski. We dug in camp into the soft snow making nice flat tent platforms. By 1:30pm we were ready to climb Iliamna. A late start, but the weather was great and the summer daylight is very late. We skied up lower angle glacier to about 6700. Here the terrain steepens and we ditched the skis. The conditions looked like we would be cramponing up the rest of the way, but soon enough I was wading through knee deep snow. We traversed between two large crevasse and crossed hopped over a third crevasse perpendicular to the other two. Eventually we gained the faint west ridge wading through knee to thigh deep snow up a steep slope with rock on our right and glacier on our left.

Dave took over the lead and we cruised up the final 1500' vertical to the summit with one steep icy section where crampons were necessary. The summit was flat and very windy. The last couple hundred vertical we were getting blown over and icy chunks of rime were pelting our faces. We were on the summit at 8:10pm, we took a photo and Lee took some great video, but we stayed no more than a minute. Wayne and Carrie were not far behind and we passed them heading down the ridge. We continued down the steep icy section and took off our crampons and plunge stepped down the thigh deep snow to our skis. Great corn skiing was had back to camp where we arrived at 10:20pm.

We had great conditions for climbing the peak and the glacier is in great shape with lots of snow. All of southern Alaska Mountains seem to have above normal snowfall this year even with such warm weather, but we did not get hardly any snow at sea level.

The next two days we skied Peak 4850, which has a 4th class rock pinnacle on the summit, Peak 4330, skied right to the summit, and Peak 4950 which also has some 3rd class scrambling at the top. We flew out sunday the 15th in the afternoon. A very fun weekend adventure!
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
West side of Iliamna Volcano from the top of Peak 4900 (2016-05-15). Photo by Ben Still.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6296 ft / 1918 m
    Extra Gain:50 ft / 15 m
    Trailhead:3820 ft / 1164 m
    Route Conditions:
Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Skis, Tent Camp
Ascent Part of Trip: Illiamna (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Iliamna Volcano2016-05-136296 ft / 1919 m
2Peak 48502016-05-141630 ft / 497 m
3Peak 43302016-05-14510 ft / 155 m
4Peak 49002016-05-151080 ft / 329 m
Total Trip Gain: 9516 ft / 2900 m    Total Trip Loss: 9516 ft / 2900 m



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