Kichatna Spires | Team Mammut

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kichatna Spires






Hey All,

Just returned from my trip to Alaska's obscure Kichatna Spires. What an Amazing place! Located approximately 90 miles southwest of Denali, and known for it's gnarly granite spires and challenging weather, the area didn't disappoint. Zack Smith and I spent two weeks on the Cul de Sac glacier, and only had two days of good weather. But luckily we were mostly focused on mixed climbing, so the weather wasn't a major problem. We climbed Kichatna Spire on only our second day on the glacier. Putting up a new route called The Message or The Money. The climb followed a moderate gully, to some steeper snow covered rock and mixed terrain, before joining the original North Ridge route at around 2/3rds height. It had great climbing throughtout, with some of the best mixed climbing I've done in the mountains. We battled through some nasty weather towards the top (Check out the rime that would form on our axes as soon as we'd put the down!), and didn't have much for summit views to say the least. We managed to climb the whole route all free at M6 in 8.5 hours, and had a total blast. The rest of the trip consisted of an attempt on a big rock climb on Sunrise Spire, that was shut down by continuous steep aid that didn't agree with our rack of three pitons. And a couple of attempts on a amazing steep mixed line on the Citadel Formation. We were sniffing the summit on our second attempt, but unfortunately a tool popped and a cam ripped as i was leading a steep roof just above Zack's belay. Zack made for a nice crashpad as I came to a stop, but unfortunately his hand and his back took a bit of a beating from my crampons--sorry about that Zack! Luckily his wounds weren't serious, but they put an end to out trip nonetheless. All in all a grand adventure, and lots of fun. Can't wait to get back to Alaska next year! Hope you're all having a great start to your summers.
Cheers,
josh wharton