Northwest Arctic Borough Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Igikpak (8,276 ft)

Date reported: August 23, 2004
Author: Gerry Roach

Mount Igikpak is also the highest point of Gates of the Arctic National Park of Alaska.

Igikpak quickie:

The team was Chris Haaland, Max, and Greg Griffith. They climbed Igikpak, then paddled 2 days down the Noatak River to the fly out lake. Chris and Max are home safely. Greg paddles on as I write from Arangarangaruskarak (sp?), the highpoint of Kobuk Valley National Park.
[Mount Angayukaqsraq, according to the map]

Many fires in the interior, much smoke. Cannot see across the street in Fairbanks.

2 day, 15 mile approach march from landing camp to climb base camp. Tough walking over a pass. Then 2 days of rain - they rested.

They climbed 'Igi in a day from climb base camp. Loose 4th class on the S face to the base of the summit tower.

Max led all three pitches up the tower...

Pitch 1: Classic 5.8 up a corner. Rock is solid, protection is good.
Pitch 2: A2 aid move on tied-off knife blade.
Between pitch 2 and pitch 3: Traverse 120 degrees around the base of the final tower on a narrowing, loose rock-strewn ledge.
Pitch 3: Exposure becomes horrendous to the north. Summit climb is as Roberts reported. Full reach to a horizontal crack for an aid pin. From top rung, reach to jug on summit. Mantel to glory.

Chris seconded and cleaned all pitches. GG juged 1st pitch, then jugged pitches 2 and 3 in one go with the rope they dropped down the S side.
[Editor's comment: "juged" presumed to mean "jumar up the rope".]

All 3 on summit together. Clouds below masked all but the highest summits. It was "Magical." 'Igi is *way* higher than anything else in the area.

Old register had Roberts et al..., and Hoeman's, but not Hackett's 3rd ascent. Theirs was the 4th ascent. They could only scratch their names in the old register.

They found the old rope in the lower cracks. They pulled their ropes on the two raps. The tower now awaits the next ascent.

Paddling was normal. Chris and Max forced some extra hi calorie food on GG. GG has full rations until 8/30 plus the extra emergency food. If he is going slower than pace, he will go to half rations on 8/25 or 8/26. He can get food or fly out from Noatak village, but seems hell bent to paddle all the way to Kotzebue - thus traversing the entire watershed. The paddle across the 15 mile bay to Kotzebue is open water and reported to be brutal with winds and current. GG's adventure continues.

G - felt good on the trip - R