In Feb. 2014, we announced that Canadian Max Fisher and American Erik Bonnett won the Copp-Dash Award for the first ascent of a 700-metre spire that forms the southern summit of Kooshdakhaa in the eastern Alaska/northern Yukon Coast Mountains.
By Max Fisher
Over the past 21 days (May 25-June 14) we climbed about 45 pitches of rock, ice and snow, traveled over kilometres of glacier, bush-whacked and pack-rafted our way through the Alaska/Northern B.C. wilderness.
We successfully climbed Kooshdakhaa Spire via the North Coulior to a col and then to the summit. It had sustained difficulties from AI3 M3 Low 5th class 600m. We also climbed the South Coulior to the col which was AI3 M3 350m.
Our main objective, the steep granite head-wall, turned us away during both our attempts. We were met with tricky route finding and challenges to 5.11. Both attempts were in alpine style. An attempt was made on another coulior to the north found on another granite feature that turned us away one pitch from topping out, it had physical mixed climbing to M5.
When we reached the river we paddled two short sections of class three whitewater in our pack-rafts before dropping to the Chilkat River Valley where we paddled more class three whitewater. To our knowledge we are the first people to paddle the Upper Chilkat in pack-rafts and the second team to paddle the river from the glacier to Haines.