Date of Press Release: May 27, 2011
A group of five from the University of Alaska Southeast Outdoor Studies Program attempted the 16,200 ft Mt. Sanford in Alaska’s Wrangell St.-Elias National Park in May of 2011.
The group, composed of one instructor and four students, flew onto Mt. Sanford on May 9, landing at 7,000 ft on the Sheep Glacier. Following a multi-day period of strong winds, the group advanced through two icefalls to a high camp at 11,000 ft.
On May 15 a summit team composed of two students, Matt Krisiak and Kyle Thompson, and instructor Forest Wagner, pushed from 11,000 to the summit, arriving on top at 7:30 PM. Perfect visibility from the summit allowed views of more than 100 hundred miles, including vistas of other high mountains such as Blackburn, Wrangell, Bona, and Logan to the south, and Hayes, Hess and Deborah to the north.
Following a brief photo session on the summit members skied or snowboarded down, enjoying five miles and 5,000 feet of descent. The team flew out from base camp on 5/17 and caught the ferry from Haines the following day.
"The Outdoor Skills and Leadership capstone provides the physical and mental challenge that tests our abilities and puts our newly acquired sense of risk management to the test. It is the highlight of the program. I moved to Alaska to take the next step in my climbing career; I came here to learn how to organize and run an expedition to a large mountain. Mt. Sanford provided that experience, a big remote mountain with a history of severe weather. It is a stepping-stone in a lifetime of adventures and I am prepared for what comes next. I fly onto the Juneau Icefield this week and ski to Skagway!" -Kyle Thompson, 2011 graduate, Certificate in Outdoor Skills and Leadership.
The Outdoor Studies program at UAS has multiple degree options, including a Certificate in Outdoor Skills and Leadership and an emphasis area in a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies.
Kyle Thompson, Matt Krisiak and Forest Wagner (L-R) on the summit of Mt. Sanford.
Matt Krisiak, Kyle Thompson, Keren Goldbergbelle, kneeling: Forest Wagner.