North Couloir, Mini-Moonflower IV, 85-degree ice


Alaska, USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 8-14 hours
Approach time: 2-3 hours
Descent time: 3-5 hours
Number of pitches: 13
Height of route: 2,000'
The Mini-Moonflower has had the unfortunate luck of being over shadowed and overlooked because of its immediate proximity to a world-famous alpine climbing monolith—the North Buttress of Mount Hunter. While not as grandiose as its neighbor to the west, this pointy satellite pillar of Mount Hunter boasts similar terrain, and by all means is a stunning feature by itself. The top, however, is nothing more than a bump on the Northeast Ridge of Mount Hunter. The Japanese, who made the first ascent of the Northeast Ridge in 1971, did not traverse this point. They traversed into the Tokositna from the Ruth and climbed the Tokositna to its head, staying well left of the lower ridge crest on the ascent.

It is the northern aspect that has caught the attention of alpinists over the last several years. Here there are three steep and technical lines. In 2001 Ian Parnell and Kenton Cool opened up a central line on the steep north face called Kiss Me Where the Sun Don’t Shine (VI, Scottish VII). The same year, Stephan Koch and Marco Prezjeli climbed Luna (V, M7, WI6+, A0) on the right side of the face. To the left of these two modern routes, a continuous and more moderate ice couloir splits up the face. The North Couloir has become popular in recent years, offering a worthy objective by itself or a warmup for harder test-pieces. It has also become an integral part of the Base Camp circuit of moderate routes, akin to the Southwest Ridge of Frances and the West Face of Kahiltna Queen. The couloir is characterized by 50 to 70-degree quality alpine ice, with a single difficult crux at mid-height. The final summit ridge gives a stellar head-on view of Mount Huntington, as well as an interesting perspective of the northeast slopes of Mount Hunter.
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Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff
Mini-Moonflower - North Couloir IV, 85-degree ice - Alaska, USA. Click to Enlarge
An overview of the line.
Photo: Joe Puryear
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