University Peak is a high peak in the Saint Elias Mountains of Alaska. It is one of the twenty highest peaks in Alaskahttp://www.mountainzone.com/mountains/highest-peaks.asp?s=AK
, and one of the fifty highest peaks in the United Stateshttp://www.mountainzone.com/mountains/highest-peaks.asp
. It can be considered a southern outlier of the large massif of Mount Bona. However, it is a much steeper peak than Bona, and presents significant climbing challenges of its own.
The peak was named by Terris Moore during the first ascent of Mount Bona; the name refers to the University of Alaska.
The first ascent of University Peak was in 1955, via the North Ridge. The climbers started low on the Hawkins Glacier, and negotiated a difficult icefall to gain a basin at around 10,000 feet elevation, on the west side of the North Ridge. This is still the recommended easiest route, but now one can fly into the 10,000 foot basin to avoid the icefall. This route is rated Alaska Grade 2+.
A much harder route (Alaska Grade 5) was climbed on the East Face of the peak (from the Barnard Glacier) in 1997, by Carlos Buhler and Charlie Sassara.
This East Face route, named "Third Semester", involves 8,500 feet (2,600 m) of 50-80 degree snow, ice and rock capped with a 300 foot (90 m) vertical ice cliff. The descent is via the North Ridge. The first ascent party took 6 days to complete the traverse, including 2 days of storm that prevented movement.