Slideshow: A Busy Season in the Revelations

Posted on: June 26, 2014


In their busiest season on record, the Revelation Mountains, known for their remoteness and abundance of new-routing potential, have seen first ascents by several groups. "There was a time or two in the early 1980s where there were multiple teams in the Revelations, but this is by far the most activity in one season," Revelations guru Clint Helander explained. "This seldom-visited corner of Alaska holds only a whisper of history and still offers truly exploratory climbing," Helander wrote in the 2013 American Alpine Journal.

The burst of activity was largely motivated by Helander's account of the mountains in last year's AAJ, which included a map labeling unclimbed peaks and offering secrets of virgin walls. Helander's beta motivated several teams, including a four-man French team who summited the previously unclimbed Pyramid Peak. Following closely behind the Frenchies were Canadians Kris Irwin, Ian Welsted and Darren Vonk, who completed three new routes, including a first ascent of Dike Peak. Helander returned to the range with Graham Zimmerman for his seventh expedition, authoring the first ascent of the west face of Titanic Peak. The teams saw both failure and success, and the Revelations remain a range of enormous potential.

Dike Peak (ca. 7,800m) showing Powered by Beans (AI5 M5, 1000m). [Photo] courtesy of Ian Welsted

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On only their second day in the Revelations, Irwin, Welsted and Vonk unwittingly established a new route up the Angel (9,265 feet). Having set out to go cragging, the three arrived at a ridge that they believed to be the summit. "[W]e realized we were on a long ridge jutting out from what seemed like one of the bigger peaks in the area," Welsted wrote. "We overcame our initial laziness at the thought of slogging along the ridge and summited. A few days later we determined that we had summited a peak 2,000 feet higher than we had originally guessed, which took some of the pressure off the rest of the trip." Next, they climbed Powered by Beans, completing the first ascent of Dike Peak.

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Comments
alpinist

Thanks for your close attention, Steve! You are correct—the Angel was first climbed by Greg Collins and Tom Walter who authored several climbs at the head of the Revelations Glacier in 1985. Their ascent followed the southeast buttress and went unreported for several years. For more on the history of the Angel, click here: www.alpinist.com/doc/web13w/wfeature-mugs-2012-helander —Ed.

2014-06-30 17:21:01
Steve Gruhn

Not to take anything away from the accomplishments of Kris Irwin, Darren Vonk, and Ian Welsted, but "previously unclimbed 9265-foot" The Angel was first climbed in 1985 by Greg Collins and Tom Walter. Rumors of a 1986 ascent persist. Clint Helander and Ben Trocki climbed The Angel on April 3, 2012, and Scott Bennett and Graham Zimmerman reached the summit in the summer of 2013.

2014-06-27 10:18:00
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