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. 


  1. Damn jolly good show, I'd say.

    Thanks for the effort to upload it.

    Doug Buchanan

  2. Thanks a lot Doug, means a lot coming from you! I am working on video now to see if I can come up with something worthwhile. If I do I will upload that too, but probably won't happen for a month or two since I am headed out.


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