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Mount Drum
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South West Ridge (Hurricane Ridge) 

South West Ridge (Hurricane Ridge) 

AI2-3 X

   
Type:  Ice, Alpine, 9000', Grade III
Original: AI2-3 Steep Snow X [details]
FA: Heinz Allemann and Niklaus Lötscher
Season: Gud Weather
Page Views: 747
Submitted By: Taylor-B. on Oct 26, 2013

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Trying not to feed the pig to the grizzly bears.

Description 

The South West Ridge is referred to as Hurricane Ridge by Alaskans and for good reason, It's windy. Mount Drum is exposed to accelerating winds from the west and south west, due to the fact that there are no peaks to abate this wind for hundreds of miles.
A climb of Mount Drum is a true Alaska wilderness adventure, since you start in the tundra zone and ascend 9,000ft into the alpine.

Dave with Copper Valley Air is your best bet for accessing the western Wrangells. The primary air strip is a place called Dry Lake at about 2,800ft, just west of the mountain. Dry Lake is the most reliable spot to land due to less wind. The other option is the Chelle Lake NPS cabin, but this adds a few more miles to the approach.
From Dry Lake expect a full days hike or ski to reach the base of the South West Ridge. Take care in this area, especially in the spring, the grizzly bears like to hibernate and hang out in the tundra.

The glacier below the ridge has receded drastically compared to the USGS maps, but still take care to rope up. Gain the ridge via snow slopes or scree slopes. Permanent snow and ice is encountered at about 7,000ft and this is where the climbing gets steep.

The best spot to camp on route is a col at about 9,500ft atop of the diamond shape feature of the ridge. From here the ridge becomes heavily crevassed and may require some steep snow climbing to navigate through the ridge to the summit.

Protection 

Expedition kit, bear mace, a few screws, and pickets.


Photos of South West Ridge (Hurricane Ridge) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Skiing the South West Ridge. It's like a Chugach s...
Skiing the South West Ridge. It's like a Chugach s...
Rock Climbing Photo: South West Ridge.
South West Ridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Skiing knee deep fluff. Who said skiing in the Wra...
Skiing knee deep fluff. Who said skiing in the Wra...
Rock Climbing Photo: The approach through the tundra and grizz country....
The approach through the tundra and grizz country....
Rock Climbing Photo: The South West Ridge is the right hand sky line. T...
BETA PHOTO: The South West Ridge is the right hand sky line. T...

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