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Matt Cornell, Jackson Marvell and Alan Rousseau at the point where the Slovak Direct joins the Cassin Ridge. [Photo] Jackson Marvell

Fast times on Slovak Direct: Two teams speed up one of Denali’s hardest routes in a day

At 2 a.m. on May 15, Matt Cornell, Jackson Marvell and Alan Rousseau topped out on the Slovak Direct (5.9 X M6 WI6+) on Denali (20,310′), completing the route in just 21 hours, 35 minutes. It was a staggeringly fast time, but the record didn’t last long. On June 3, Michael Gardner, Sam Hennessey and Rob Smith fired the route in 17 hours, 10 minutes. All six climbers are friends and expressed happiness for everyone’s success. “The conditions this year are like nothing I’ve seen in 10 years,” Gardner told Alpinist. “People who’ve been climbing there longer than I have are saying the same thing.”

Katie Ives on Pinnacle Gully, Huntington Ravine, Agiocochook, Mt. Washington, 2012. [Photo] Alan Cattabriga

Melt Outs

In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 78–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Katie Ives explores some of the many metaphors of late-season ice. She writes: “Any ice route is a land that appears and disappears, never taking an identical shape twice, leaving ghostly outlines in climbers’ memories of past forms–and posing the question of which ascent might be the last.”

Nicolodi starts up the crux pitch of The Resistance, a pick seam that widens to a 5-inch offwidth, on an attempt last February. [Photo] Adam Bidwell

Jon Nicolodi frees two classic mixed lines in his home state of New Hampshire

In March 2022, Jon Nicolodi was able to free two old aid routes as mixed climbs: Across the Great Divide (M8 R, 5 pitches, 550′) on Cannon Cliff, and the Shurayev-Mirkina-Dynkin Route (aka “The Resistance,” M10, 5 pitches, 360′) on Agiocochook (Mt. Washington). Both routes involved runout climbing and some of the hardest drytooling in the state. He’s got plenty more plans for next season, but for now, he laughs, “I’m ready for some rock climbing.”

The Full Circle Everest expedition. Expedition leader Phil Henderson is third from left in the back row. [Photo] James Edward Mills

Full Circle Everest team summits: first Black expedition to the top of the world

Full Circle Everest–the first all-Black expedition team (with Sherpa support) to attempt Chomolungma (Everest, 8849m)–attained success when several members stood on the highest point of the world before sunrise on May 12. With this news, we revisit an article from Alpinist 75 (Autumn 2021) by James Edward Mills, titled “Climbers of Color Come Full Circle: The Future of Expanded Representation.”

[Photo] Courtesy of Takeshi Tani and Toshiyuki Yamada

Japanese team completes first ascent of Kangchung Nup’s NW face in Nepal

After several attempts by other talented climbers in recent years, two alpinists from Japan completed the first ascent of the Northwest Face of Kangchung Nup (6089m) in Nepal. Takeshi Tani and Toshiyuki Yamada estimated the difficulty of their 900-meter route–which they climbed, round-trip from Gokyo village from April 21 to 24–to be ED1: M5 WI4/AI4. “It was really dry conditions this spring, which is safer than usual because there was less avalanche hazard,” Tani said. “We found a beautiful ice strip middle of the NW face and climbed pretty much straight up to permanent ice. Great conditions like snice make everything different.”

Ukrainian mountaineer Alina Kosovska during her trek of the Transcarpathian Route in 2022. She finished the route on February 14, becoming the first person to complete it in winter. [Photo] Courtesy of Alina Kosovska

Ukrainian alpinists share stories of life amid the Russian invasion

From fighting in active combat on the front lines, to scrambling to find food and supplies, to struggling to find a refuge for their families abroad, Ukrainian climbers have had their lives turned upside down by the Russian invasion. Three of them share glimpses into what their day-to-day existence looks like amid war.

Clint Helander and Andres Marin on top of Golgotha (8,940') in Alaska's Revelation Range after completing the first ascent of Shaft of the Abyss (VI AI5 R M5 90° Snow A0, ca. 4,000'). [Photo] Courtesy of Clint Helander

Clint Helander, Andres Marin complete their “dream route” on Golgotha in Alaska’s Revelation Range

On March 25, Clint Helander and Andres Marin stood on top of Golgotha (8,940′) in Alaska’s Revelation Range after completing the first ascent of Shaft of the Abyss (VI AI5 R M5 90° Snow A0, ca. 4,000′). They had previously attempted the route three times together in 2016, 2017 and 2018, reaching a high point about halfway up in 2017 with Leon Davis before a crampon broke.