Team ready to tackle Peak 11,300 in the Alaska Range
The stunning Mt. Hunnington as seen during approach
Peak 11,300 — route follows left skyline
On the summit!
All photos from Mark Ryman’s recent expedition to Peak 11,300
It’s springtime in Seattle — which means that it’s spring climbing season in the Alaska Range! We’re excited to announce that there’s a Mountain Madness expedition on Peak 11,300, led by IFMGA-certified guide Dylan Taylor.
Peak 11,300 is a climber’s favorite, involving steep snow, rock, and ice (Grade V, 5.8, 60′). It has become an Alaskan classic, and offers diverse climbing in one of the world’s most amazing alpine climbing arenas. The ascent epitomizes alpine climbing and lends itself to lightweight ascents, but also requires meticulous planning as Dylan explains in an email to his clients as they prepared for the trip:
I just got out of the mountains, and now I’m hanging around in Anchorage. Its good to hear you’ve put some thought into tweaking the gear to go light. It’s critical that we travel light on the route — not just for enjoyment or chance of success, but for safety as well. There’s nothing worse than poking around on steep, high consequences terrain far from civilization with a big, unwieldy pack on your back. Its never an easy decision — I haven’t even decided on what pack I’ll carry and I hardly have any choice since I’m already up here. But one thing I am sure of is that it will be between 40 and 55 liters max. Packs with a removable back pad are perfect for this sort of thing as well since then you can double-down on the usefulness of your padding. If you’re pack is bigger than 50 or so L than its that much more fabric that gets blown around in the wind, that much more fabric that weighs, and that much more fabric that you have to bunch up with compression straps.
Bring two bags — you’ll most definitely want a +20 or +30 bag. That ‑20 bag shouldn’t go any higher than basecamp. I’m bringing a +20 and +30 bag — I’ll use them together in basecamp and probably just take the +30 up on the route. Honestly, its not that cold in the ruth gorge in May these days, and furthermore, suffering is part of alpinism. If you guys really wanted to immerse yourselves in true alpinism, you’d take one bag for the two of you! I refuse to enforce anything like that though — its a personal choice! hah!
For tools — the short answer is you bring what you are most comfortable with. If you are comfortable getting in and out of your leashes quickly, then bring your Venoms. If you bring your vipers, bring a spinner leash system. The climbing isn’t super difficult, so the vipers may not give you that much of an edge. Plus, you can’t plunge them in snow as securely. But having leashless tools sure is nice for the alpine. I’m bringing Petzl Aztars with modified leashless pommels that come off in about a minute with my leatherman. I have a leash-less tether for them as well so i don’t drop them.
Happy Travels! Looking forward to climbing with you!
The group flew in as scheduled and landed in the West Fork of the Ruth Glacier at the base of Peak 11,300. They were having great weather when we heard from them yesterday, but were watching high clouds from the southeast. (The forecast is for a weak front coming through today, then for clear skies Thursday and Friday before another front moves in on Friday.)
According to Dylan, most of the approach couloirs to the route have released, and he thinks travel will be straightfoward and safe. They were planning to watch the weather, and start up early this morning. They’re planning for two nights on the route, so we’re looking forward to hearing from them soon!
(Note: the pictures above are from Mark Ryman’s successful expedition to Peak 11,300, a week ago. Congratulations to Mark and his partner and MM guide Aaron Clifford!)
P.S. For something a little closer to home but as wild and wooly as 11,300, check out our remote Pickets Expedition in the North Cascades- it doesn’t get any wilder in the lower 48!