Sunday, October 2, 2011

Team Adventuresuck

I finally made enough time to get a blog started and figured I would start by posting on my Alaska Range trip from this spring.

On April 16th, Amos Swanson and I flew into the Root Canal with Talkeetna Air Taxi with the objectives of climbing Shaken not Stirred on Mooses Tooth and then moving camp to West Fork to climb the North Buttress of Roosters Comb.

The next day we had great weather and decided to head up Shaken not Stirred. The bottom of the route was very dry and we were forced to go around the first three pitches and then traverse left into the route. We followed snow and thin ice to the base of the narrows where it narrowed to excellent ice climbing with multiple vertical to overhanging steps. We continued to the crux pitch 13 at the top of the narrows which we found to be very thin and unprotectable. Following a near fall we decided it wouldn't be wise to continue as there was no gear and started the rappels.

On the 19th we decided to have a go at the classic Ham and Eggs. The majority of the route was in good condition with only a small amount of wallowing. We chose to to the first ascent (1 bolt) variation through the crux pitch which was an interesting experience to say the least. We made the summit at 2PM, and had a lone raven join our summit celebrations.

With our objectives fulfilled, we were ready to move camp. A storm moved in however and we spend the next five days tent bound. I read my only book in the first two days, built a huge snow cave, played farkle, drank scotch and waited. And waited, and waited some more. Finally the storm broke and we were able to move camp to West Fork!

We then attempted the Direct North Buttress of the Roosters Comb but after making it across the bergschrund and up the snow cone only to find dry rock we bailed. As our time was coming to an end we changed objectives and on the 28th we started a single push ascent of the Southwest Ridge of 11,300. We left camp at 4am and made it to the first col by 7am passing the first party. Two parties had started up the day before leaving a nice boot pack and we we caught the second party at the second col. After a scary knife edge cornice fest we punched it up the final snow slope and made the summit around 4pm. The weather had started to deteriorate so we quickly continued across the summit plateau and down the Southeast ridge. Many long rappels later we finally made it the glacier and ran under a huge scary ass serac while dodging crevasses and finally made it back to our tent utterly exhausted. We had completed the 4,400' route in 19 hours with one liter of water and an eight pound pack each. We were both happy with the success we had had on our first Alaska Range trip and were ready to return home. 

We once again moved camp to Mountain House and waited out a few more weather days before TAT picked us up on May 1st then and it was off to Mountain High Pizza Pie for beer and pizza!