First Ascent of Alaska's Bat's Ears Peak

Posted on: May 13, 2008


Americans Ben Gilmore and Freddie Wilkinson teamed up with Canadian Maxime Turgeon to make first ascent of the Bat’s Ears, an 11,044-foot peak that was possibly the highest unclimbed major summit in the Alaska Range. The trio climbed the nearly 3,000-foot south face of the peak in a 23-hour round trip from base camp, descending via the southwest ridge [Photo] Courtesy Maxime Turgeon

According to a report posted on the American Alpine Club website, Americans Ben Gilmore and Freddie Wilkinson teamed up with Canadian Maxime Turgeon to make first ascent of the Bat’s Ears, an 11,044-foot peak that was possibly the highest unclimbed major summit in the Alaska Range. The trio climbed the nearly 3,000-foot south face of the peak in a 23-hour round trip from base camp, descending via the southwest ridge.

Bat’s Ears peak rises between the upper Yentna and Lacuna glaciers on the infrequently visited southwest side of the Mt. Foraker massif. Last spring, Gilmore, Wilkinson, and Peter Doucette made the first ascent of the Fin Wall, a very steep face above one fork of the upper Yentna Glacier, and during that expedition they spotted the line on Bat’s Ears (Read about the ascent of the Fin Wall in this May 11, 2007 NewsWire).

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After their successful climb on Bat's Ears, the trio hopped a plane shuttle to Kahiltna base camp and then climbed the 4,000-foot Moonflower Buttress of Mt. Hunter. They continued to the summit of the 14,570-foot peak and then downclimbed and rappeled, making a 52-hour round trip from base camp.

Gilmore was the recipient of an American Alpine Club Lyman Spitzer Cutting-Edge Award, a grant supporting small, light, alpine style ascents around the world.

Sources: American Alpine Club

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Comments
chewtoy

claiming the first ascent or second first ascent of the last highest is an old sponsorship game. hats for the continuation.

2008-05-24 11:42:08
Steve Gruhn

I wasn't trying to rain on anyone's parade, but I'd appreciate knowing ascent details if any of those peaks have, in fact, been climbed.

2008-05-23 17:50:34
Steve Gruhn

Congratulations on the first ascent!

However, I don't know that Bat's Ears was the highest unclimbed peak in the Alaska Range. I don't know of any ascents of Peak 13050 near the East Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier and the West Fork of the Ruth Glacier, Peak 12213 near the Lacuna Glacier, Peak 11750 near the Tokositna Glacier, Peak 11530 near the Tokositna Glacier, or Peak 11150 near the South Fork of the Eldridge Glacier and the Brooks Glacier. While some of these might be of lesser significance than Bat's Ears, Peak 11530 is a major summit. My research has not been exhaustive, so previous ascents of these peaks might have been possible, but I don't know of any previous ascents and none have been recorded in the AAJs.

2008-05-23 17:41:14
NewMexclimber

Wow! Nice work! I'm sure that the surroundings of Alaska are quite beutiful! Good luck in the future! S. Melendez

2008-05-13 23:10:36
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