Nevada Peak (5900ft) - 13Jan2023

Nevada Peak South Ridge

     Nevada Peak is the peak down the Mint Valley with the least amount of information. This is probably why I was drawn to figuring out a route up the mountain. To my surprise, I have been up to the Mint Valley a few times, but I failed to take any good photos of the peak. I scoured the web thinking this would lead me to beta heaven, but I came up empty. Finally, after route planning, the East Face would grant me access to the summit. 

Pinnacle Valley
      With my recent ascent of Troublemint, I knew the approach would be fast because we only received 2 inches of new snow in the past week. A week later, I was back down the same trail at 645am. I was pleased to get the extra sleep and only hike in the dark for the first 2 hours. The hike in was dull as I had the trail dialed in and felt like I had Deja Vu. 

     I cut off the main trail, and I was heading up the valley between peak 5232 and The Rock. My timing was impeccable. I was at the head of the valley at first light. The temperature swing was insane in here. It was still well below freezing but way warmer than next to the Little Suitna River. Once higher, I dropped onto the frozen creek, and travel was quick up to the Pass. At the Pass, I was treated to a lovely sunrise and views of the Talkeetna Mountains. 

Souvenir Peak and Peak 5232 from Pass

Base of Couloir

  I dropped my snowshoes and poles at the Pass because the traverse to the couloir would be done on a 35-degree slope. I was stoked to get eyes on the couloir because, on imagery, it was in the shape of a Y. To reach the couloir, I only had to drop 80ft which was a treat coming from my last big day. The snow was in excellent ascending conditions, the front 2 inches of my boots and crampons kicking with each step. Weird having spring-like conditions so shortly after the winter solstice. I knew this would not last, so I was taking full advantage. 

Heading Up the Couloir with Granite Peak scrapping the clouds.

     I was still determining the exact route, but I figured the couloir system would get me somewhere on the ridge to scope out a reasonable way. I gained the ridge around 100ft short of the summit, but the ridge was horrific and full of cornices that did not look inviting. I noticed a ledge system that split the 2 branches of the couloir, so I descended, bringing me to this semi-flat bench. I spotted a reasonable route that ascended a steep icy slope followed by a 15-meter chimney system. After the class 5 section, I was deposited on a more reasonably angled slope. It was a few extra meters to find a suitable anchor. The total pitch was around 33 meters.

The Crux up the East Buttress 
     I dug through the snow to find a suitable anchor to clip a double sling through. I set up the anchor to prepare for a rappel. A short 100ft snow climb brought me to the summit block. One last class 4 section, and I was standing on Nevada Peak. The stoke was high; nothing is more rewarding than ascending a peak with little or no information. The only thing I could find was during the first ascent in 1992, Willy Hersman and his partner Phil Fortner climbed the Northern ridge. I could only locate one other report, which was more recent, and our approach routes were spot on, but it seems they ascended climbers right off the south ridge.

Rappelling the Crux
      An easy down climb brought me back to my anchor for a full-length rappel. Then, I dropped from the ledge into the other couloir branch. I had a blast exploring this zone.

     Finally, I headed back to the Pass, collected my gear, and then snowshoed back to the car, only having to use a headlamp for the last 2 miles. 

Looking Down the North Ridge of Nevada Peak


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