Kalhiltna Queen West Face

An extreme ski line of the highest calibre

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
1.5 km
Ascent
47 m
Descent
889 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
2.8 km
High Point
3.7 km
Gradient
58˚
Kalhiltna Queen West Face  Map

The Kalhiltna Queen, also known as Humble Peak, is a stunning and prominent mountain separating three major glacial basins. Its West Face is perhaps the most spectacular steep ski descent accessible from Kalhiltna Basecamp.

Description

With a prominence of 1,000 meters vertical above the South-East Fork of the colossal Kalhiltna Glacier, the West Face of Kalhiltna Queen was once a classic alpine route of moderate difficulty. It has gone since gone out of fashion as climb but still sees some ascents from teams looking to acclimatise before tougher objectives.

Good ski conditions can be hard to come by with the line having both south and west facing aspects to it. A good buildup of snow is required to cover the steep rocky slope on the south side near the summit and there is often exposed ice on the top slopes of the west face. A prominent and aesthetic couloir comprises the first half of the line. This is sustained at 50 degrees for 600 meters vertical. The upper 400 meters are more technical and can be difficult to ski through without rappelling.

Dropping into the top of the west face proper, there are pitches sustained at 55 degrees over massive exposure. Despite its accessibility from Basecamp there have been only three known descents of the West Face, and only one from the summit without rappel. It is perhaps the most technically demanding line that has been skied in the area.

Allow for two hours minimum to skin to the bergschrund from Basecamp, and another 4-5 hours to climb the line. The lower couloir will heat up quickly in the afternoon and can become dangerous.

Difficulty

Extreme

Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

Extreme Exposure (E4)

4 out of 4

In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

May

Features

  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Couloir
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Guidebooks in this area