Kenai Fjords National Park Highpoint Trip Report

Unnamed at 59-48'27" N 150-9'22" W, called "McCarty Peak"
(USGS map: 6,400+ ft)

Date reported: July 14, 2005
Author: Dave Covill

party: Dave Covill and John Drew Mitchler of Colorado, plus park ranger Mike Tetreau

John Mitchler & I flew to AK in early June, and along with Kenai Fjords NP Ranger Mike Tetreau, we climbed McCarty Peak, the HP of KEFJ NP.

After extensive research via our friend in the Anchorage Mountaineering Club, Steve Gruhn, we feel that it is possible that this was a first ascent (for real, not just amongst the cohp group). There was a survey party that passed through the area in 1928, but they may or may not have summited this nunatak.

We were flown onto the Harding Ice Field by Doug Brewer of Alaska West Air, a very competent pilot, out of Kenai. We had to march 4 miles with all our gear because we couldn't land next to the Peak due to low cloud cover.

It was a relatively difficult snow climb of about 800' of terrain steeper than Mt Hood, with avalanche danger on either side of us, and rock and ice fall danger as well. The ridge at the top was a narrow corniced fin, for several hundred feet to the high ground. We were of course roped the whole way, with crampons, and placing pickets in snow and slings on occasional outcrops for protection.

There was of course no evidence on the summit of visitation, as it was 90% snow with a little rock right beneath it.

If you were to factor in that a century ago there may have been more snow and the angle may have been lower, it might have been an easy climb back then (in 1928), although it doesn't look any higher than its N & S neighbors, each about 100' lower, and might not have attracted the survey team.