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Trip Reports : United States
Research Report (2006): Ice Age Glaciers And Precipitation Patterns In The Sangre De Cristo Mountains

Kurt Refsnider, an AAC member and recipient of one of the club’s Research Grants in 2006, has had a paper on his research project published in the journal Boreas (October 2009). Refsnider, a scientist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research in Boulder, Colorado, investigated the influence of different moisture sources on glaciers in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado during the peak of the last ice age. The AAC grant, along with funding from the Colorado Scientific Society, allowed Refsnider and colleagues to spend a month reconstructing and mapping the maximum extent of these long-gone glaciers.

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Research Report (2009): Alpine Meadows In Washington State

Kevin Ford, recipient of a 2009 AAC Research Grant, has completed the first year of his research on the alpine meadows of Mt. Rainier National Park. Ford is modeling the effects of climate change on the size and location of alpine habitat in the park. Click the PDF link below to read about his findings.

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Attempt On The Tooth Traverse, Ruth Gorge

McNeill-Nott Award winner Zack Smith describes his expedition to the Ruth Gorge in the summer of 2009.

In alpine climbing you do your best to anticipate the potential crux of a trip. You physically and mentally prepare for bad weather, loose rock, huge days, anything you can imagine. For the first time ever, just getting on the airplane and deciding to go was the hardest part of our trip. The day before Renan Ozturk and I left for Alaska we attended Jonny Copp’s memorial service. The day before that we said farewell to our friend… [view report]

New Routes In The Mendenhall Towers, Alaska

Mountain Fellowship winner Blake Herrington reports on his recent run of big new rock climbs in Alaska.

On July 9, Jason Nelson and I caught a helicopter from Juneau to the Mendenhall Glacier’s upper reaches, intending to climb new routes among the Taku or Mendenhall towers. Jason is from Ouray, Colorado, and knows how to climb rock and Ice. I am from Bellingham, Washington, and know how to schwack through brush, cook one-stove meals during a storm, and flounder in soft snow. We seemed to have all the bases covered.

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Research Report (2009): Perceptions On Denali

Jon Kedrowski from Texas State University spent more than a month on Denali this past season—including a trip to the summit via the West Buttress—in order to conduct a study entitled “Climbers’ Perceptions on McKinley: Crowding Concerns, Hazards, and Climber Demographics.” The researcher handed out written surveys to climbers at Kahiltna base camp, and then analyzed the results in the report that you can download on this page.

One interesting finding was that climbers’ fears about climbing Denali changed while they were on the mountain. Fears of acute mountain sickness, HAPE, and dehydration were most… [view report]

Denali's Forgotten Wall

Tyler Jones from Idaho and Joel Kauffman from Montana won a 2009 McNeill-Nott Award from the AAC for an attempt on the so-called Forgotten Wall: a 1,700-meter technical face between Denali’s northwest ridge and the Wickersham Wall. To avoid the serac-threatened direct approach to the face, they hatched an ambitious plan: They would descend from Denali’s west buttress to the Peters Glacier, climb up the northwest ridge to 3,900 meters, and then rappel 700 meters to the base of the Forgotten Wall. From the top of the wall at 5,000 meters, they planned to continue to the north summit of Denali at ca. 6,000m. Here… [view report]

Ski-Mountaineering in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
image 2 Kit DesLauriers skiing unnamed peak at sunset, Arctic Refuge

Written and Submitted by Kit DesLauriers—June 30, 2011 (Photo credit: Chris Figenshau)

In April 2010, I was part of a team of ski mountaineers who journeyed to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in far northeastern Alaska to climb and ski it’s high peaks and then experience skiing across the contested coastal plain to the Arctic Ocean.

From base camp near Okpilak Lake, we first climbed the northeast side of Mt. Michelson (8,855 ft; 2699 m) and made a ski descent from the summit via the east face and north-facing glacier back to camp. It may have been skied before but I don’t know for sure and it is highly unlikely to have been skied via our route since the standard… [view report]

New Routes on the Tikchik Domes, Alaska

Clink on the PDF link below to read the full report on Althea Rogers 2008 trip to remote granite domes in Alaska. Numerous first ascents in an incredibly wild setting make for quite a tale! This trip was supported by the McNeill-Nott Award and a Moutain Fellowship Award, grants given annually by the AAC. Enjoy the pictures and stories provided by Althea.

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Hard Days in Alaska

Clint Helander reports on his trip to Alaska in 2010.  Tough conditions did not allow for the successes he and partner Seth Holden yearned for, but it was a learning experience and life altering trip.  Clint was partially supported the McNeill-Nott Award, an AAC grant offered annually.


After waiting an agonizing twelve days to fly in, Seth Holden and I finally landed under the massive west face of Mount Mausolus. In the 1968 American Alpine Journal,… [view report]

Bold Ascents by MFF Recipient


Zack Martin was awarded a Mountain Fellowship Fund grant in both the spring and fall of 2001. For his fall expedition, Zack traveled to Alaska and completed some very impressive climbs.  See the short write-up below for the details.

The team of Zack Martin (USA), Machek and Jakub “Cuba” (both of Poland) completed the third ascent of the Cobra Pillar on Mount Barille in the Ruth Gorge of… [view report]

FA for Mountain Fellowship Team in Alaska


Mountain Fellowship Fund recipients report on their successful trip to Alaska. After enduring a few hardships, the team came away with a first ascent on Mount Gerdine. Read the detailed write-up below.


In the summer of 2002 Johnny Soderstrom showed the book he had bought about the Tordrillo Mountains of Alaska. He then showed me a series of topo maps of the area with a… [view report]

The Tusk

Bryan Friedrichs has shared an awesome trip report filled with photos and great info on his trip to the Tusk in southern Alaska. Click the PDF below to read the whole story. Bryan was supported by a Mountain Fellowship Fund grant, an award offered annually by the AAC.

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Sleeping on the Summits: Colorado 14ers High Bivys Project 2011

Documentation of the first person to camp directly on the summit of every single Colorado 14,000' Peak from Sunset to Sunrise.  Dr. Jon Kedrowski tackles the feat in only 95 days from June 23 to Sept 28, 2011. Joined on Occasion by Chris Tomer.

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Second Chance
image 2 Rope damage
image 2 His ice tool left where he was hit by the avalanche

lift my head and all around the edge of the bowl I see a fracture line. I am in the dead center of an avalanche I just triggered. As I start to slide I turn my head and yell AVALANCHE!!! Undoubtedly my meek voice is drowned out. My first thought is “Ed?!” 200’ below me Ed has dismantled the anchor and is climbing with me. Snowy rope quickly starts spooling at his feet. He looks up…

On November 6th Ed and I left my house at 6am with the babysitter feeding my kids breakfast. We had been on a hunt for some Ice in a nearby range. We… [view report]

RMNP Windstorm Makes Ice Climbing Less Than Fun
image 2 Brain Crawling Through the Blow Down

Dont know if you've heard this yet—but in early Nov. there was a catastrophic wind event in RMNP. [Ed. Like the Tunguska Event? Probably not.]
Nothing less than a phenominal microburst in Glacier Gorge (more like a

Either the front sucked air into its mass from the west, or the wind swirled and blew out of the east, but thousands of trees are laying downhill, pointing west. The eastern half of the canyon (area below Astro Tower) is completely destroyed. I imagine that RMNP see's annual winds over 100mph and for over a century now —SO what could generate this type of destruction? [After our recent trip] we're guessing 150-200mph or more?

Brian Verhuslt & I skiied in to climb Stoneman yesterday.… [view report]

From the Deep South to the Palisades Sierra Classics 2012
image 2 V Notch Couloir
image 2 Near the top of Polemonium

I took a ten day alpine climbing trip with my friend David Martin (July 20-30, 2012) to the Palisades Region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Big Pine, CA. We successfully climbed three classic alpine rock routes (Moon Goddess Arête IV 5.8, Venusian Blind IV 5.7, Swiss Arête III 5.7) and the V Notch alpine ice couloir (Snow/AI 3).

Trips really begin in our mind, when some picture, or route description, or little fantasy starts an… [view report]

Ouray Mixed Competition 2013
image 2 Lowa Photo, Mighty Aphrodite Competition Route, Ouray CO
image 2 Seeing sun for the first time in a long time. Stairway to Heaven, Silverton CO, 1200'. Photo Andrew Blessing.