The Fin Wall

Exploring one of the forgotten corners of the Alaska Range…

SAT phones, accurate weather forecasts, and close air support have fundamentally changed modern Alaskan climbing.  Don’t get me wrong — I’ll happily avail myself of all the latest trickery if it means I get to do more climbing. In April 2007, Ben Gilmore, Peter Doucette, and I attempted the first ascent of the Fin Wall, a 4,000 mixed face tucked into the rugged chain of peaks that forms the Southwest Buttress of Mount Foraker. But despite the best intentions, a decidly old-school experience awaited us on the Yentna Glacier.

Photo credits: Ben Gilmore, Peter Doucette, Freddie Wilkinson