June 14, 2010

Best Line of the Trip

Me: "Ryan, I was reading on Kelly's blog the other day that the Jumbo of the Giri-Giri boys says that to really be successful in the mountains, he imagines his body lying broken in a ditch. What do you think?"

Ryan: "OK, I'm imagining his body lying broken in a ditch. Is it working?"

For background information on the Shi-Shi philosophy and the context of the original quote, visit Kelly's post on Jumbo.

June 11, 2010

Hayes 2010 Trip Report

Please see previous two posts for an expedition summary and route photo topos. We climbed two new routes and tagged one summit. Both of the routes have been attempted prior to our climbs. 

Below: Rob Wing landed his Super Cub on wheels on the ice of the Hayes glacier following our unproductive time on the Gillam glacier. Then we hiked up glacier into the hayes basin with a LOT of stuff. Photo: Ryan Hokanson

Following are photos from each of the climbs we engaged in. Please see previous post for routeline photos.

Direct West Face of Mount Hayes: V AI3 R 6,500 ft (ca. 9,000 feet of climbing)

12 hours on route

Below: Taking a break a couple thousand feet up the Direct West Face at around 10,000 feet to pull out the ropes and begin simul climbing. We climbed the route in about seven simul pitches. Photo: Ryan Hokanson

Below: Ryan heading up terrain typical of much of the route, climbing toward spectacular ice and rime gargoyles beneath the summit ridge.

Below: Me following yet more alpine ice to a simul transition at Ryan's belay. The scale of the face is apparent in this photo. Photo: Ryan Hokanson

Below: Me starting the last simul pitch to the summit ridge at around 13,000 feet. Photo: Ryan Hokanson

Below: Ryan following the last simul pitch to the summit ridge.

Below: Ryan on the summit of Mount Hayes (13,876 ft/4230m), 12 hours after starting.

Below: Ryan in the midst of many rappels on the northern portion of the West face.

Northeast Buttress of Mount Balchen: V AI4 M6 3500 ft

10.5 hours on route to turnaround at ca. 11,000 feet on the summit ridge due t o due to lightning strikes. Again, see previous post for routeline photos. 

Below: Me climbing the initial icefield on the Northeast Buttress. Photo: Ryan Hokanson

Below: Ryan approaching a short mixed crux on the Northeast Buttress.

Below: Ryan climbing an 80+ degree alpine ice smear to bypass a rock headwall about two thirds of the way up the rock buttress.

Below: Me happy for the temporary clearing, heading across easy mixed ramps to access the final icefield. Photo: Ryan Hokanson

Below: Following the above pitch, we headed up the final icefield and snow rib to the summit ridge in increasing cloud, and started tromping toward the summit. Sadly, lightning and thunder which had been hearing from a distance began to get closer and we began to experience the electrical phenomenon known as St. Elmo's Fire. As our metal objects and bodies begain to emanate electrical squealing noises, we called off the summit bid within spitting distance at 11,000+ feet and headed down as fast as we possibly could to decrease our risk of being struck by lightning. Here is Ryan rigging our first v-thread rappel down the East face while sheltered in a nook below the summit ridge. We ended up getting around 6 inches of new snow in two hours and experiencing a lot of slough avalanches while on rappel/at anchors descending late into the evening.

Below: A brief clearing in the could soup during our descent.

Beasts of Burden

Following a day of rest, we began the trudge down to the Hayes moraine airstrip bearing 100 pound loads. 

Below: Ryan with his beautiful load on the Hayes Glacier.

Thanks so much to the Copp-Dash Award, the American Alpine Club for supporting our expedition, and Black Diamond Equipment for supporting me in my climbing efforts over the last 3 years. Thanks also to my other company support- PROBAR and GU Energy Labs. 

June 9, 2010

Hayes 2010 Photo Topos

Here are the photo topos for the routes Ryan Hokanson and I climbed on our 2010 Hayes Range trip.

Below: The routeline for the Direct West Face of Mount Hayes, which we climbed in 12 hours in single push alpine style from the bergschrund to the summit. The route gains about 6500 feet from the Hayes basin at an average angle of about 55 degrees with steeper steps and smears here and there for a total of about 9000 feet of climbing. More photos to come soon...

Photo: Received from Jeff Benowitz

Below: The routeline for the Northeast Buttress of Mount Balchen, which we climbed in 10.5 hours in single push alpine style from the bergschrund to 100 feet short of the summit, where we turned around due to nearby lightning strikes :(. Again, more photos to come soon...

June 7, 2010

Back from the Hayes

Ryan and I flew out of the Hayes Range yesterday following time on the Gillam and Hayes glaciers. Due to issues with our initial flight, we were unable to land anywhere near Mount Shand's South face, which we had hoped to attempt. As an alternative, we landed on the Gillam in the hopes of attempting new lines on Deborah or Hess. We found Hess quite melted out and chossier than we had hoped, and were unable to negotiate the icefall and serac threatened approach to Deborah.

Our intended plan B routes extinguished, and our favorite pilot now available, we flew with Rob Wing over to the Hayes basin. There, we spent some time examining an enormous ridge traverse we hoped to attempt, eventually deciding that the traverse would likely be much safer as a threesome and with some more snow protection. We then shifted our focus to other unclimbed lines in the Hayes basin, completing the first ascents of two routes: The Direct West Face of Mount Hayes, and the Northeast Buttress of Mount Balchen (though prevented from summiting by active lightning and St. Elmo's Fire 100 feet away from the tippytop), both in single push alpine style. I will update with more information and photos as we sort through the media from the trip. I have quite a bit of video also, which needs sorting, converting, and  some serious truncating. Thanks to the Copp-Dash Inspire Award, Black Diamond Equipment, and my other company support for all your help! Thanks for checking in!