Posted on: December 1, 2005

Mt. Balchen (11,140') sits at the head of the Gilliam Glacier, ten miles east of the Mount Deborah/Hess region. Seth Adams, Jed Brown and I climbed the left edge of Mount Balchen's south face on May 25, 2005 in a sixteen-hour tent-to-tent round-trip. We summited in a full-on gale and descended my previous route, the West Buttress (5.5 80 degrees M4+, 4,000'), skiing toward the left of the south face in a whiteout. The 700-meter granite route resembled Yosemite's Royal Arches, but was situated on the side of a large, remote Alaskan Range peak. We named the route, The Handicap Ramp, since one of us dragged a leg with a unionized tibia and fibula up the face. Overall we rated the line 5.4c because ratings are for hotels. It was the peak's fourth ascent and my second new route on the peak.

- Jeff Apple Benowitz, Fairbanks, Alaska

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