West Face Mt. Huntington - Colton/Leech Route


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Mountain climber
Portland, OR
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 6, 2009 - 01:12am PT
This TR was migrated to the Trip Reports forum:


Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 6, 2009 - 01:22am PT
Awesome Jay!
I will be digging into this, in just a little while.
Ghost might be asking for 800x600 on those pics, to eliminate scrolling back and forth?

Can't wait to hear Keiths reaction to this one!!

It looks beautifully written by the way!

Mountain climber
Portland, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 6, 2009 - 01:35am PT
OK, images resized, with links to full-resolution versions.


Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Aug 6, 2009 - 02:03am PT
Finally, a real climbing thread and superbly done!
Fantastic! I hope you kept your toes.
Let's see how long this stays on the front page.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Aug 6, 2009 - 02:41am PT
That is an adventure of the highest order. Thanks for sharing!


ps - how are your toes?

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Aug 6, 2009 - 03:08am PT
"I poked around with my axe, but there was nothing to offer the slightest hold. Then I felt my north wall hammer, still driven in to the head just below the lip, start to break out. My footholds began disintegrating under my weight and suddenly I was airborne as the snow collapsed beneath me. I felt myself contact the wall again and again as I pin wheeled down in the darkness into a vertical mile of air."

this is my worst nightmare

to lead up into it and have it actually happen...

well you have a stronger sense of fortitude than I good sir.

a well told tale that speaks of adventure writ large!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Aug 6, 2009 - 03:55am PT

I'm pretty gripped just from the skiing part, and nights at -20 below.

Nicely written. Really nice. Crisp.

Last week a friend from Chattanooga had me nearly talked into a foray to the north side of Denali... on a soft desert evening, July on the edge of Mono Lake. This is the perfect wake-up call.


Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 6, 2009 - 05:20am PT
Damn, what a great read!

I heard this story in it's full glory from you guys so many years ago, and bits and pieces of it from Keith over the years, no matter where we were, but it's different here.

I've always enjoyed a good tale from a great book or magazine, but here I get to know that these men are my friends. And I am so fortunate to have had you for friends and partners all these years.

Thanks Jay.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Aug 6, 2009 - 11:12am PT
Great story!

Mountain climber
Portland, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 6, 2009 - 11:12am PT
Hey Bruce,

Yes, I still have all my toes. I spent a week in the hospital in Alaska, and another week in Portland. I was in a groin to toes cast for 4 months, with my blackened toes sticking out the end, covered with gauze. I had to soak my toes in iodine solution for two months twice a day.Eventually the toenails fell off, then the blackened dead skin. Underneath; nice pink toes. When the nails grew back, they were pretty ugly looking, but hey, no complaints.

The worst of it was on the plane ride coming back from Alaska. My leg had to be propped up and extended into the isle. A businessman whacked his briefcase into my toes on his way down the isle, and I just about passed out.


Trad climber
fresno, ca
Aug 6, 2009 - 11:18am PT
Amazing adventure. Thanks for taking the time to put it down on "paper" and share it with us. Bravo. The real deal. Full value.....whatever we wanna call it. Thanks!

A long way from where I started
Aug 6, 2009 - 01:18pm PT
Wow! Great adventure.

(and thanks for resizing the pictures)


Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 6, 2009 - 01:30pm PT
Jeremy, hanging with my mom?
Dude....you're in the rough......
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 6, 2009 - 01:32pm PT

Great stuff, Jay, thanks!

-Brian in SLC

Trad climber
meffa, ma
Aug 6, 2009 - 02:29pm PT
what an adventure, thanks for the read!

Trad climber
Eagle River, Alaska
Aug 6, 2009 - 02:39pm PT
Thanks for the excellent read, Jay. We've never met but I've been climbing with Bruce and Keith for years. Heard lots of stories about you. I'm headed to New Mexico at the moment. Maybe we can plan a rendevous with the Cozmic Banditos somewhere in the desert this winter.

Trad climber
Aug 6, 2009 - 02:57pm PT
All Right!!!!

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 6, 2009 - 04:15pm PT
Yes Jay, you and Buggs would enjoy each other immensely.
Buggs can have you laughing til your face hurts, 'cept without the shrooms!!

Plus he's a big fan of the AK range.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 6, 2009 - 06:58pm PT
Bump for quality, and to bump some nonsense down.

Hey Jay, I sent an email to an old friend of yours.....NC.

Aug 6, 2009 - 10:21pm PT
bump for an incredibly well written story about an fine alaska adventure. the ski in would be the trip of a lifetime for many, not to mention the fine ascent.

right here, right now
Aug 7, 2009 - 10:43am PT
Very nice write up: as good as it gets!
It stands up quite well on its own merit and suffers not from lack of photographs.
Those words and maps suffice quite well by themselves and are worth a thousand pictures.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Aug 7, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
Back up to pg.1. The two little fragments I especially liked were "...and told Keith it was still my lead" and the sound like pouring a drink over really cold ice cubes. Great read, really puts the reader right there. Thanks.

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Aug 9, 2009 - 10:19am PT
A+ Jay
Very well done, glad you made it out!
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Aug 9, 2009 - 10:31am PT
Thanks to Jay Kerr for posting this phenomenal TR & thanks to Bruce for pointing it out to me.
Big honkin' Brass balls, there.

Gym climber
the ground up
Aug 9, 2009 - 10:38am PT
That looks like an incredible report. I didn't have time to read it. It looked kind of long. Not that I imagine it is boring, but I just have other stuff to do. Got any reports about any sport climbs?

edit: thanks for taking the time to post it

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:05am PT
"Got any reports about any sport climbs?"

Ho Mahhn, now there is a typical supertopo response!!

Yeah Jay, please, fill us in on all those sport routes you've been doing....

Especially for someone who can't take the time to read about a REAL adventure!

Gym climber
the ground up
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:25am PT
Pardon me if the story is inaccurate. I remember reading something about a famous alpinist hanging on a sport route. A young kid came by and said that he had done it as a warm up. The alpinist commented that the kid should climb in Patagonia. He would like it.

Aug 9, 2009 - 05:37pm PT
Since this was Alaska, did Keith change his name to Stevens by wedding our then senator, Uncle Ted?

Gym climber
the ground up
Aug 10, 2009 - 09:02am PT
bump- definitely worth the read. It sounds like you had some of the systems dialed, or at least knew enough to figure it out along the way. I admire your concern for your partner, and am happy you have your toes. A success in the style of Shackelton.

When you thought you could continue after taking the Percodan, do you think it was eternal optimism of the alpinist, or the meds doing the talking?

Trad climber
the east
Aug 10, 2009 - 09:45am PT
A most excellent adventure! Thanks for sharing!!

Mountain climber
Portland, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 10, 2009 - 11:42am PT
Wack --

Although I am an eternal optimist... it was definitely the drugs.


Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Sep 23, 2011 - 11:57pm PT
where's the original content?
Delhi Dog

Good Question...
Sep 24, 2011 - 12:35am PT

I believe that might be it-or knott.
I just need to go back and read it.

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