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Mt. Moffit

The north face of Mt. Moffit (3968m), Hayes Range, Alaska, showing: (left) The Entropy Wall (VI 5.9 A2 WI4+, 2400m, Brown-Haley, 2006) and (right) Miller-Teale (Alaska Grade 4: VI AI4, thirty-plus 100m pitches, Harvey-Teale, 1989). [Photo] Jed Brown

Mt. Moffit, The Entropy Wall, New Route. In early July, Jed Brown of Fairbanks, Alaska, and I flew from Delta Junction to Alaska’s Hayes Range, landing on mudflats some ten kilometers down-glacier from Mt. Moffit (3968m). We made two trips to shuttle equipment from there to a base camp immediately below Moffit’s 2000-meter north face. The northern aspect of the mountain had been climbed once previously, in 1989, by Brian Teale and Harvey Miller, via an appealing but a dangerous ice line, to the right of the north wall proper. On July 10-13 we made the first ascent of this neglected wall. The initial portion of our route, up to the lower icefield, offered free climbing on mediocre rock and aid climbing on solid granite. From the upper left side of the first icefield, we climbed a steep chimney to small ledges and our first bivy. On the second day we climbed six pitches, mostly aid and all on excellent granite, to a bivy below a four-meter roof, where a snow mushroom provided a perfect cave. On our third day we exited the bivy via exciting aid climbing and soon gained the upper icefield. About 250 meters of ice and mixed climbing brought us to the top of The Entropy Wall (VI 5.9 A2 WI4+, 2400m), and a few hundred meters of ice slopes took us to the end of the technical difficulties. After a brew stop on a snow ledge during the night, we continued over the summit in a blizzard and descended via the Northwest Ridge. We hiked for two days across tundra to the Delta River, which we crossed in a tiny inflatable raft, using a snow shovel as a paddle.

–Colin Haley, Seattle, Washington

Colin Haley jugging the last pitch of Day 2 on the first ascent of The Entropy Wall. The ascent took Haley and Jed Brown four days to complete; the north face of Moffit is one of the largest in North America. [Photo] Jed Brown