The Southeast panhandle of Alaska is a labyrinthine landscape of massive islands, wandering straits and mysterious mainland mountain ranges. The regionís independent fishing communities are few and far between, connected by complex networks of seaborn ferries and propeller driven air fleets that give the area a frontier feel, where opportunities abound, and the stakes are high.
Along the still disputed Canadian border, just over 100 miles southeast of Juneau, lies a massive network of ice-choked valleys and slicing granite spires known as the Stikine Ice Cap. Summits in this part of the world are not terribly high, and perhaps this has doomed the region to relative obscurity, but what these peaks lack in height they make up for in Napoleonic aggression. Home to such fearsome sights as the Devilís Thumb, Burkett Needle, and the Catís Ear Spires, the Stikine Ice Cap is brimming with possibilities.
This region is known for its uncooperative weather, so any expedition should prepare accordingly. Precipitation is extreme, due to the coastal proximity, and dense fog is pervasive. Ascents in this region have been made at all times of year, though mid to late summer ascents are the most common.
Home to a robust economy based on fishing, logging, and the seasonal Cruise Ship industry, the quaint Scandinavian village of Petersburg, AK provides all the amenities and the perfect jumping-off point for an adventure on the Ice Cap. Alaska Airlines offers service to Petersburg from Seattle and other major Alaskan cities. From Petersburg, air travel to the ice cap can be arranged via TEMSCO Helicopters, Inc temscoair.com
. Be advised air travel is extremely constrained by weather conditions. Lodging, food & cooking fuel are readily available in town, but climbing-specific equipment is not available. The local city park offers reasonably priced camping for those awaiting a ďThumbís Up DayĒ for air transport.
Another option for the pure of heart (or light of wallet) is to arrange boat transport to the toe of the Baird Glacier and ski/trek up onto the ice cap.
Weather station 87.5 miles from here
3 Total Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Featured Route For Stikine Ice Cap
Plumb-Stuzman (Northeast Rib of the North Face) 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Steep Snow AK
: Southeastern Alaska/Coastal...
: ... : Devil's Thumb
INTRODUCTIONThis route was begun as a direct up the North Face. After about ten pitches of climbing, the melting central face caused a change of plan. A traverse was made over to the safer northeast rib and that was followed to the top. This grade VI, 5.10, has probably not had a second ascent. The Northeast Rib might be a lot better than some past AAJ and magazine articles have suggested. Stories about loose rock and rotten rock may have come from the first climber to talk to Bob an...[more] Browse More Classics in AK
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The southwest aspect of Devil's Thumb, with the Ca...
Flying over Thomas Bay, approaching the Patterson ...
Map of the Stikine Ice Cap with key landmarks indi...