Mt. Sanford

Mt. Sanford (16,237 ft., western Wrangell Mountains) is a semi-technical ski mountaineering must-do. The entire Boulder Creek approach is south-facing, so you enjoy the sun and peak views all day.

John Sykes and I tried to sprint up Mt. Sanford via Boulder Creek/Sheep Glacier the second week of March, 2011. We climbed to 15,100 ft (from 1,900) and covered 80 miles in 3 days, 5 hours. We turned around at 15,100 with the sunset,-20 temperature and wind.

Two Weeks later I went back with Toby Schwoerer, Erica Madison, and two snowmachines. We rode 20 miles in, had a comfortable camp with wood and water, and then spent one night at a high camp (~11,000 ft.) before summiting. Toby and I both felt pretty sick at the summit.

BETA: We started at the Chistoshina River rest area just past the town of Chistochina. There is another access point a few miles further west on the highway. After a few miles on the Chistochina we turned upstream in the Copper River. The mouth of Boulder creek was more subtle than I expected- I was glad to have marked coordinates on the GPS. Boulder Creek often has a trapping snow machine trail to mile 12 or so, and is pretty easy going by ski or snowmachine. There was a lot of open water up stream, so that could be tricky with a snowmachine. After taking a right up Sheep Creek we climbed up to a gully on lookers left of the morraine. The gully goes all the way to ~6000 ft. on Sheep Glacier, which is a nice option for avoiding the cracks low on the glacier. The rest of the route is pretty straight forward with the exception of the crevasse field between 8,000 – 10,000 ft. I think you really want to camp above 10,000 ft. if you are going to push to the summit.

3 responses

  1. J Train

    Lovely photos. Growing up in Chistochina, I never grew tired of eyeballing Sanford in the distance. See you in Valdez this summer for the start of the AMWC??? Cheers.

    January 23, 2012 at 6:59 am

  2. JessGondek

    Love the photos.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

  3. Ralph Baldwin

    Great videos, photos and route beta. Thanks for posting! Keep up the good work!

    May 29, 2014 at 8:51 pm

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