By 1937, Mount Lucania, at 17,150 feet, was the highest unclimbed peak in North America. It was not just sheer technical difficulty that made Lucania redoubtable; it was the mountain's inaccessibility, plonked in the centre of the sprawling Wrangell-St Elias wilderness, a labyrinth of huge glaciers and high, corniced ridges.
In one of the most extraordinary feats of mountaineering achievement, Bradford Washburn and Bob Bates made the first ascent that year. But it's not simply the fact that the two men reached the summit that wins admiration, it is the style in which they did so. Owing to critical flukes of weather and logistics, Washburn and Bates found themselves suddenly stranded in the heart of that complex range, with inadequate gear and provisions. With astounding pluck, they pulled off the ascent in the course of escaping from a trap that would have cost other climbers their lives.
- Publication Date:
- 23 / 08 / 2004
- 129 x 198mm