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!

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