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Southwest Ridge T 

Southwest Ridge 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 3600', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c Steep Snow [details]
FA: 
Season: Spring, april, may
Page Views: 998
Submitted By: christoph benells on Sep 7, 2015

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E Harz surfing the wave on the upper ridge.

Register with the NP Mountaineering Headquarters in Talkeetna, AK before climbing in the park!

Description 

A great route just a short distance from Kahiltna basecamp. Can be done in a day or an easy overnight. Caution, the more gear you take the longer this climb will take you.

Head down heartbreak hill to access the southwest ridge. Scramble up loose rock and scree to the first tower.

The first towers go around 5.6-5.8, with short technical sections separated by snow slopes. There is a knife edge rock ridge that can create problems where a cornice usually hangs off it.

The third tower you bypass by lowering off fixed gear about 15 feet. Communicate with your partner clearly because you will not be able to see or hear them.

Climb up steep snow to the ridge crest and follow the ridge to the Gendarme. Rap off fixed gear into the notch.

The next couple of pitches are the crux. The actual crux is a 4" wide left slanting crack, goes for around 80'. 5.8

Easy snow brings you to a scary traverse around the false summit cornice. Make sure you are at this spot when the snow is well frozen, otherwise you are looking at pure danger.

The next obstacle is the final gendarme. Go up right and through a notch to your left. From the top of this it is 400' to the summit.

Descend the East ridge. It is moderate snow with glacier ice steps that you can bypass on your right side, or rap down off snow bollards. Lots of crevasse danger, I would recommend climb the east ridge first as a warm up. The lower cirque has avalanche potential.

Joe Puryear's Alaska Climbing Supertopo book is the alaska range bible. You will see many groups out there on the glacier with this book at basecamp. Great route description in there.

Location 

Just up glacier from the bottom of "heartbreak hill"

You will see it at Kahiltna Basecamp.

Protection 

Ice tool, one or two. Nut set, single cams to 3", 4" piece recommended. Glacier travel gear, single 60m rope.


Photos of Southwest Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Team tranquillo en la cumbre
Team tranquillo en la cumbre
Rock Climbing Photo: Traversing under the cornice
Traversing under the cornice
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the cornice traverse. Sultana in the b...
Approaching the cornice traverse. Sultana in the b...
Rock Climbing Photo: Traversing around tower 3
Traversing around tower 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Clean granite on tower 1
Clean granite on tower 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Head on view of the SW ridge from the main Kahiltn...
BETA PHOTO: Head on view of the SW ridge from the main Kahiltn...
Rock Climbing Photo: Scrambly start
Scrambly start
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling over the false summit cornice.
Pulling over the false summit cornice.
Rock Climbing Photo: Death traverse under false summit cornice.
Death traverse under false summit cornice.
Rock Climbing Photo: The route is the left side ridge in this photo. yo...
The route is the left side ridge in this photo. yo...
Rock Climbing Photo: tower 4. 5.7
tower 4. 5.7
Rock Climbing Photo: Traverse along the ridge.
Traverse along the ridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Gaining the ridge after tower 3
Gaining the ridge after tower 3
Rock Climbing Photo: The upper ridge close to the summit. Hunter in the...
The upper ridge close to the summit. Hunter in the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Full view of the route from Kahiltna basecamp. Cor...
BETA PHOTO: Full view of the route from Kahiltna basecamp. Cor...
Rock Climbing Photo: The last obstacle before the summit.
The last obstacle before the summit.

Comments on Southwest Ridge Add Comment
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By Flex
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 21, 2015

Super fun moderate alpine climb, a great introduction to Alaska climbing. This route begs to be climbed when you land on the Kahiltna!

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