Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ascent of "Kayuqtuq" (Pk. 4000+?)

   Recent post attested to thwarted attempts on Peak 4000+ located on the divide between Crater Creek / Fox Creek here .  Vowed to return to this insignificant hillock that my Christopher Robin imagination had transformed into a Chimborazo, a Cotopaxi, it had stolen my heart away, the Sentinel of the East End of the Kigs, a bookend paired with the Singtuq (Pk. 3870) way over on the West End, a bump become my albatross.  Three attempts I had made on Kayuqtuq, defeated each time by my servitude and laziness.  It was time to resort to the path of least resistance, which in the Kigs, is almost always the south side of the mountain.  
    Here is a pixellated figment of the mountain from the North, viewed from South Fork Crater Creek, March 2009. (below):
    The moment Earp touched ground after ascent Osborn Sunday (see here for account), the GLUE OF TOWN began to exert a strong undertow on her machine.  Perhaps "GLUE" is a misnomer;  what I saw tearing away at Joni was a FORCE, manifesting from thirty-five miles away, a concatenation of cares and responsibilities exerting attraction from a distance.  Soon, she was gone...  
     The GLUE was pulling at my machine in the direction of TOWN as well, but there was also a repulsive force emanating from town that caused me to turn, cold and soaked from the arduous climb, in the direction of wilderness.  Soon, thanks once again to Earp, I was ensconced in the cabin at Salmon Lake with gear drying, like Clyde huddling alone at Glacier House, but with MAD Magazine instead of the Iliad for company.
     The weather was banging fine, the conditions nearly perfect in the Kigluaik for mixed climbing.  My thoughts turned to Kayuqtuq;  not to be a crass peak-bagger or anything, but the peak had to be bagged.  The next morning, basking on porch with Jack Aubrey coffee in hand, I was visited by an honest-to-God KAYUQTUQ:
(above)  KAYUQTUQ (Vulpes v. alascensis)  I named him Ray Guy.  A good omen.  The peak was in the bag.

      However, before the old man could bag the peak, the old man needed a rest day from the GREAT THRASHING PUNISHMENT of bagging Osborn the day before. Rest day was used to reconnoiter a snow-machining route up Fox Creek.  It took quite a bit of searching about on foot with the Iron Dog parked to find a way past a cornice at Fox Creek's bottleneck, about three miles in from road.  
        Once this bottleneck was negotiated, however, the overwhelming OBSCENITY OF THE SNOW-MACHINE became glaringly apparent.  I was able to motor easily to the very base of Kayuqtuq's south slope.  If I had crampons with me, I would have just climbed it on my rest day.  I had snow-machined nearly to the top of my Chimborazo, my Cotopaxi.

(below)  Summit pyramid KAYUQTUQ (Pk. 4000+) from north shoulder of mountain.  My second attempt, solo, was thwarted when I chickened out of soloing this rather appealing-looking mixed ground. The drop-off to the right (northwest)  is really quite fearsome.

(above) Summit, Kayuqtuq (Pk. 4000+)  I have no reason to be sure of that elevation.  I like to fancy it is one of two "four thousanders" in the Kigs, along with Osborn.  I'll hazard a guess it has been climbed before, but I'll hazard a second that it was never climbed in a winter month either.  The wind came in huge spurts that day, like waves of customers at a market;  at the summit, it was perfectly calm.

 (above)  View towards southwest from summit of Kayuqtuq (Pk. 4000+)  1.  "Turncorner Mountain" (Pk. 3200+) between Northstar Ck. and Windy Ck.  Kristine and I climbed that big old righthand skyline one summer.  2.  Tigaraha, with its three granitic summits.  3.  Pk. 3213.  4. "Pen Tri Cwm" (Pk. 3650+), so called by Anchorage party. 5.  Mosquito Pass area-  routes to be had.
       This type of panorama fondling and pee marking is shameless, utterly embarrassing, really quite fun, never gets old.
 (above) Looking down East Ridge.  Attempt number 1 with Earp last February ended up with us retreating from somewhere in this photo.  We decided this peak wasn't anywhere near worth frostbite.  Did I mention it was cold?  Yes, very, ALLAPA!!, it was cold that day.  Lots of nice mixed climbing on gneiss around here.  If it were Scotland, there would be routes!

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