Friday, May 23, 2008

Light and Slow

As Ben Gilmore, Max Turgeon, and Freddie Wilkinson were racing up the mega-classic Moonflower Buttress to the summit of Alaska's Mt. Hunter this month, they caught and passed a Japanese man and woman finishing the same route. Writing at the Hardwear Sessions blog (which is often excellent these days), Wilkinson describes his encounter with the couple at the Bibler Come Again pitch, the route's final serious technical passage—the Japanese were on their eighth day of climbing; Wilkinson and his partners had reached the same point in a day and a half. Yet, despite a somewhat shaky climbing style that reminded Wilkinson of his beginning clients back home in New Hampshire, the two seemed content and optimistic. And sure enough, they carried on to the top of Hunter, making one of the rare complete ascents of the 7,000-foot route. At the conclusion of his lovely short essay, Wilkinson writes, "This is probably one of the slowest successful ascents of the climb, and in my opinion, one of the proudest."

The Max Turgeon photo above, by the way, shows an infamous landmark on the Moonflower route: Mascioli's Mushroom, the snow/ice blob that fell off in 1997 and killed climber Steve Mascioli.

3 comments:

Bob McKerrow said...

THANKS FOR THIS INTERESTING POST. THE HARE AND THE TORTISE STYLES OF CLIMBING BOTH HAVE THEIR MERITS.

HAVING BEEN INVOLVED IN MOUNTAIN SEARCH AND RESCUE FOR MANY YEARS I ADMIRE SAFE CLIMBING.

I ENJOY YOUR BLOG AND HAVE LINKED IT TO MINE AS I WRITE QUITE A FEW MOUNTAIN STORIES AND IT IS GOOD TO REFER MANY OF MY NEW ZEALAND CLIMBING FRIENDS TO YOUR BLOG.

KEEP UP THE PHOTOS AND ARTICLES.

BOB

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Dougald,
I arrived via Bob's blog and recco from New Zealand, and see a wealth of material to enjoy. Keep up the top work! Kia ora.
Ka kite,
Robb

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