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Adjutant Peak

[Brief] An Apt Addition to Alpine Alliteration.
Published 3-29-2021 | Last updated 3-29-2021
61.672, -148.097


[Unofficial name, no GNIS Entry]


The peaks above the Spectrum Glacier in the Central Chugach were named to fit an alliterative theme established after Vin Hoeman, Grace Hoeman and Bill Babcock climbed and named Amulet Peak in March 1968.[1] Awesome Peak was named on the same trip, and ‘Alabaster Peak’ was named in July 1970 by Bob Spurr, Bob Pelz and Royce Purinton.[2]

Adjutant Peak joined the ranks of Company A on July 28, 1973, when it was first climbed and named by Bill Barnes, Jack Bruckner, Tom Meacham and Bob Spurr.[3] An ‘adjutant’ is an administrative officer in an army unit, responsible for reporting, records, and correspondence. The peak was endowed with the name because, in the words of Tom Meacham, "we just thought it looked sort of upright!"[4] Most other details of the trip were described in a report submitted to the American Alpine Journal[5]:

From The American Alpine Journal, 1975
“Adjutant”, Northwestern Chugach, 1973.

Overlooked in the report of 1973 Alaskan climbs was the first ascent of “Adjutant” (8350 feet), the easterly companion of “Alabaster” (A.A.J. 1967, 17:2, p. 335). On July 26, Bob Spurr, Bill Barnes, Jr., Jack Bruckner, and I hopped across the Matanuska River by bush plane, surmounting the most apparent initial obstacle confronting climbs in this area. The remainder of the day was spent packing gear from the riverside landing strip to the confluence of the river with swollen and boulder-rumbling Monument Creek, across the creek, and then paralleling the west bank, at times precipitous, upstream to an alder-covered bench in the valley below “Spectrum” glacier. The next day saw camp moved, with some skinned knees, up to the glacier via the rocky right side of the glacier snout, thence onto the ice itself and eventually established toward the left side of the glacier, conveniently near the debris-strewn west gully of “Adjutant”, rising from the ice and offering, in late summer, ready access to the upper slopes. On the morning of the 28th, amid drifting fog rising from the glacier to the trio of surrounding 8000-foot peaks, the party ascended the gully, roped into two teams to cross the snow-choked north bowl of the mountain, and ascended the bergschrund at the upper margin of the bowl by one delicate pitch. After gaining the northeast ridge, a straightforward climb up mixed snow and rock yielded the previously unclimbed summit. Through the drifting clouds, two additional spires of “Adjutant” could be seen, joined to our summit by corniced ridges and given additional height by flat light and loom-effect. After judicious scrutiny under changing light conditions, it was determined that we had in fact attained the true summit of the peak.

Thomas E. Meacham, Mountaineering Club of Alaska


Sources


[1] Hoeman, V., “Amulet Peak 8290'” The Scree, Mountaineering Club of Alaska, April 1968.

[2] Spurr, R., “Alabaster, (8065'); First Ascent” The Scree, Mountaineering Club of Alaska, August 1970.

[3] “Bits & Pieces” The Scree, Mountaineering Club of Alaska, August 1973.

[4] Meacham, Thomas, in discussion with the author. March 2021.

[5] Meacham, T. “North America, United States, Alaska, 'Adjutant,' Northwestern Chugach, 1972.” The American Alpine Journal 20 (1975). Accessed March 13 2021. https://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/12197511904