Good Luck on Mount Foraker

Sunset on Mount Foraker with the Sultana Ridge in the foreground.

Just wanted to wish Andrew McLean and company good luck on their attempt to ski the Sultana Ridge on Mount Foraker (aka, Sultana). Andrew has just left with teammates Courtney Phillips (SLC), Kip Garre (Tahoe) and Fred Marmsater (Boulder) for a shot at the 17,004′ peak. With a 1 in 36 success ratio for teams climbing Foraker, it sounds like it will be a challenging objective.

Courtney Phillips, Andrew McLean, Kip Garre and Ferd Marmsater.

pierre-beginThis is Andrew’s second attempt at skiing Foraker, which has only been skied once by Frenchman Pierre Beghin in 1981 and who died while climbing Annapurna in 1991. As temps warm up and the days begin to get close to 24 hours of sunlight, this is prime time for skiing in Alaska as the snow now has a chance to stick to the mountain instead of just blowing away with the wind. The team will set up basecamp at the foot of Mt. Crossen, them make two trips up to its summit where Camp 1 will be located. Another day will be spent traversing to Camp 2 at the base of the Sultana Ridge where they will hunker down and wait for optimum conditions for their summit bid…retracing their route on the way down.

Sultana Ski Team’s location on May 25 at 7am.

The team will have a SPOT satellite messenger beacon with them as a safety device and also a satellite phone. Andrew plugged me into the SPOT database so I’d get status updates and said he’d call me on the sat phone if anything happens…whatever that means. Hopefully it will only be calls of success, in which I will pass along to all those interested. Good luck fellas….and remember…it’s okay to spoon with another man to stay warm if no one is watching. Rock on!

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8 Responses to “Good Luck on Mount Foraker”

  1. 1 Derek May 25th, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Good luck Andrew. And also good luck and safe travels to the Powderwhore crew who will be attempting to ski Foraker as well.

  2. 2 randosteve May 25th, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Via the same route?

    Sounds like a race to me! 8)

  3. 3 jason May 26th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    wooohoooo! gettin after it! But i don’t know what C.B. Phillips is doin on this trip…I heard he was a poseur. Be safe Court…you’re an Uncle now…

  4. 4 Dan Petrus May 27th, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Hi Steve
    I have really been enjoying your website lateley. Mt Foraker has been skied twice the south east ridge by the frenchman Boivin and the Sultana ridge by a group in the late 70′s or early 80′s. They skied high off the peak above 17,000. One of their members broke an ankle on the dscent. So off the true summit is still open. Mark Fellerman and my attempt in May of 07 almost ended in tragedy when i fell into a crevasse dislocating my shoulder starting two years of surgery and rehab. Keep up the good work and good luck to those guys.

  5. 5 randosteve May 27th, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Thanks Dan!

    It sounds like there may have been another descent in ’95 by Tyson Bradley…see ShoutBox. The info I got was from Andrew who stated that Pierre skied from it’s summit…and is the only one to have done so.

    Glad to here you’re adventure ended up okay. And nice one on the Grandstand…looked at that one for a while.

  6. 6 Dan Petrus May 27th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Sorry Steve
    Mr. Beghin it was. I should make sure my facts are correct before i start mouthing off. If anyone knows the score it is Andrew. Thanks about the GS.

  7. 7 jerimy May 28th, 2009 at 6:01 am

    I found two slightly differing instances of Tyson Bradley’s descent in 1995. Lou mentions Bradley’s descent of Sultana in the introduction of Wild Snow on page xxix. From Lou’s description, it sounds like it was solo by Bradley. The American Alpine Journal vol 38 issue 70 page 174 says that Tyson and Julie Faure both skied from 17k.,M1

  8. 8 randosteve May 28th, 2009 at 6:10 am

    For the record, it says they skied 300 vertical feet and about a 1/4 mile away from the summit. Must have been a killer to be so close.

    Lou also states that Pierre Beghin was the first to ski Foraker.

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