Mount Foraker – Sultana Ridge
Mount Foraker: 17,400 ft.
Mountain Trip led the first successful guided expedition up Mount Foraker in 1980 and we have led numerous teams up the mountain in the decades that followed. The Southeast Ridge is one of the finest alpine routes in the Alaska Range. The route involves steep snow climbing, interspersed with ice pitches and exposed, cornice ridges. All this makes for very spectacular and scenic climbing. Unfortunately, changing conditions on the route have kept us from attempting it in recent years, although things might be trending toward the better.
In the spring of 1996 we began leading climbers up the most popular line on Mount Foraker, the Sultana or Northeast Ridge. It is a longer route than the Southeast Ridge but harbors less objective hazards. This is a challenging route with a big summit day that demands respect.
We fly into the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier and set forth across the Kahiltna proper to make our base camp at the base of 12,800’ Mount Crossen. A steep entrance gulley leads to a snowy ridge that climbs to a dramatic camp perched high above the Kahiltna Glacier. Above this camp, steeper steps of snow and ice are encountered as we climb up and over Mount Crossen to make Camp 2. The long ridge line that connects Crossen with Mount Foraker presents climbers with a mix of steep steps, wild cornices and knife-edged ridges. Summit day is a physically challenging ascent of the sublime Northeast Ridge, negotiating crevasses and continuously steep cramponing. This route should only be considered by very fit climbers with solid crampon and ice axe technique.