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More News from the Alaska Range

Mt. Grosvenor (8,460′), summited on April 29, 2008, by Kei Taniguchi and Hiroki Suzuki via Warrior’s Way (V M5R A0, 21 pitches). [Photo] Kei Taniguchi collection

The following report offers a number of short bites from Alaska. For more information regarding activity in the Alaska Range this season, read the May 25, 2008 NewsWire. –Ed.

On April 19, 2008, a Japanese team comprised of Kei Taniguchi and Hiroki Suzuki climbed Ham and Eggs on the Moose’s Tooth. The following day, they made an ascent of Shaken, Not Stirred (TD+ or V AI5, 3,100′) on the same peak. On April 23, they climbed the relatively new route Freezy Nuts (TD+: 95 degrees, 800m) on London Tower. On the 29th, Taniguchi and Suzuki summited Mt. Grosvenor (8,460′) via Warrior’s Way (V M5R A0, 21 pitches), with some minor variations on the upper pitches.

Kei Taniguchi leading the seventh pitch of Warrior’s Way (V M5R A0, 21 pitches) on Mt. Grosvenor (8,460′). [Photo] Hiroki Suzuki

While in Alaska, Taniguchi and Suzuki had shared a camp with Tatsuro Yamada and Yuto Inoue, the two Giri-Giri Boys who were attempting a difficult traverse along the Kahiltna Peaks into the classic Cassin Ridge (Alaska Grade 5: 65 degrees, 5.8 AI4, 9000′) on Denali when they disappeared and never were found. They are presumed dead (more information is available in the May 29 NewsWire).

Norwegians Trym Atle Saeland and Ole Lied climbed the popular but challenging Moonflower Buttress (Alaska Grade 6: 5.8 A3 AI6, 6,100′) on Mt. Hunter (14,573′). Another Norwegian team, Nils Neilsen and Eiliv Ruud, made a successful ascent of the Moose’s Tooth classic, Ham and Eggs (V 5.8 AI4, 850m), in April. As Neilsen explained, because the Norwegians made the “first ascent this year… we had to do a lot of snow digging and find fixed anchors for the descent, and we had to do a ‘face lift’ on most of them.” In addition, they climbed Freezy Nuts and the Japanese Couloir (III 55-70 degree snow/ice) on Mt. Barrill (7,650′). Neilsen and Ruud also made a first ascent of the east face a nameless peak between Mt. Bradley (9,100′) and Mt. Dickey (9,545′). They named their route Kuriositeten and graded it AI5 M3+ (more information is available in the June 16, 2008 NewsWire).

Approximately a week after Katsutaka Yokoyama, Yusuke Sato and Fumitaka Ichimura enchained the Isis Face (Alaska Grade 6: M4 A1, 60 degrees, 7,200′) and the Slovak Direct (Alaska Grade 6: 5.9, 100 degrees, 9,000′) on Denali (20,320′) in mid-May (read the May 27, 2008 NewsWire for more information), Mark Westman and Eamonn Walsh made the fourth ascent of the Isis Face.

Over four days, a French team–“Francois Delas, Titi Gentet, Seb Ratel and Damien Tomasia–climbed the Roberts-Rowell-Ward route on the southeast face of Mt. Dickey (9,545′). Other members of the French team successfully climbed numerous established ice routes in the area, including Ham and Eggs and Shaken, Not Stirred.

Corredor Canalla (Alaska Grade 3: 50-70 degrees, 2,300′): a new route on an unnamed peak (3243m) near Mt. Huntington, established by Cecilia Buil and teammates. [Photo] Cecelia Buil collection

A new route up an unnamed peak (3243m) near Mt. Huntington was established by Cecilia Buil and teammates. They abandoned an attempt on the West Face of Huntington due to unstable snow conditions, and instead put up Corredor Canalla (Alaska Grade 3: 50-70 degrees, 2,300′). Buil described the route as “some easy mixed in the middle and the end of the climb. The crux was more some inconsistent snow that we found than the steepness. It is an easy climb, but with so much snow the crux was to pass a short narrow crest with inconsistent snow and arriving to the summit, with 70 degree snow swimming.” Despite discouraging weather and heavy snows, the team completed the route in just over nine hours.

Sources: Mark Westman, Nils Nielsen, Kei Taniguchi, Hiroki Suzuki, Ceceila Buil, Raphael Slawinski,