Trip Report
Attempt on Moonflower Buttress, Mount Hunter
Friday November 27, 2015 2:58pm
The Moonflower Buttress on Mount Hunter is one of the finest modern test-pieces on Earth. It has had several ascents and even more attempts by some of the best climbers from around the world. Pretty much every account I've heard from people who have either done this climb or even just attempted it, concluded that it was the best and most sustained alpine climb they had ever been on.

Needless to say, I wanted to give this climb a go, but failed miserably despite multiple attempts. Everything has to come together for a complete ascent of the Moonflower Buttress to the summit of Mount Hunter.
Here are some of my favorite photos from several attempts:

Moonflower Buttress seen from the Kahiltna airstrip. Not a good idea t...
Moonflower Buttress seen from the Kahiltna airstrip. Not a good idea to camp beneath the face due to frequent avalanches that swipe the entire approach.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Close-up of the Buttress.
Close-up of the Buttress.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

The Buttress on a good day.
The Buttress on a good day.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

The Buttress on a not so good day. The white lines are mostly continuo...
The Buttress on a not so good day. The white lines are mostly continuous spindrift coming down after a storm.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

The start of the climb.
The start of the climb.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Ice runnels.
Ice runnels.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

More ice runnels.
More ice runnels.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Even more ice runnels.
Even more ice runnels.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

The crux of the Prow looming above.
The crux of the Prow looming above.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Tricky section before the Prow.
Tricky section before the Prow.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Just before the Prow.
Just before the Prow.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Freeing the Prow is tricky business, partly because the gear is crap. ...
Freeing the Prow is tricky business, partly because the gear is crap. Note the small purple cam that has come out leaving my face pretty exposed to those spiky crampons as they scratch around...
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Perfect ice after the Prow.
Perfect ice after the Prow.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

'Tamara's Traverse'
'Tamara's Traverse'
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Looking up the ice field below 'The Shaft'.
Looking up the ice field below 'The Shaft'.
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Bivy at the top of the ice field before 'The Shaft'. This is as far as...
Bivy at the top of the ice field before 'The Shaft'. This is as far as I ever came, because my climbing partner got frostbite with 7 black finger tips. Still a very long way from the summit at this point...
Credit: KristofferSzilas

Have a look at this discussion for more about the Moonflower:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2657906&msg=2657908#msg2657908

  Trip Report Views: 3,422
KristofferSzilas
About the Author
Kristoffer Szilas is a mountain climber from Denmark.

Comments
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
  Nov 27, 2015 - 04:17pm PT
Steep
Big
Think I'll have to turn the furnace up a bit more and have another beer after those pictures
Thanks
Prod

Trad climber
  Nov 27, 2015 - 04:36pm PT
Cool TR!

Prod.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Nov 27, 2015 - 04:37pm PT
Great pictures. What did you use for rap anchors? I assume a few vthreads. Are there fixed anchors due to all the attempts?
overwatch

climber
Arizona
  Nov 28, 2015 - 06:46am PT
Bolt that sh#t...just kidding. Thanks for the pics
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Nov 28, 2015 - 07:01am PT
Nice
WBraun

climber
  Nov 28, 2015 - 08:44am PT
After seeing all your stuff I'm moving to Florida where its flat, safe and warm .....
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Nov 28, 2015 - 09:04am PT

Even reading this thread and the linked thread is an adventure...
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
  Nov 28, 2015 - 09:22am PT
Awesomeness
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Nov 29, 2015 - 07:41am PT
KS:
I am humbled just by your attempts.
Great stuff.
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
  Nov 29, 2015 - 01:53pm PT
Wha???!!! Amazing stuff.

the link is/was great too. thx to all who contributed to that thread.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Nov 29, 2015 - 02:17pm PT
You are freaking me out with the radness!
KristofferSzilas

Mountain climber
Denmark
Author's Reply  Nov 29, 2015 - 03:18pm PT
mike m, the route is surprisingly clean. The only fixed stuff I ever saw was two or three pitons on the Prow and an anchor on the top of that pitch for the pendulum. Apart from that all of our anchors on the descent were abalakovs.

Larry Nelson, I feel that attempting climbs that are likely too hard for you is the whole point of alpine climbing. If you get up a climb it means that it was too easy for you and alpine is all about getting your ass kicked anyway ;-)
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Nov 29, 2015 - 03:49pm PT
Way out of my league but I get a swing at thru you.
Great pucker factor.
Thanks.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
The fake McCoy from nevernever land.
  Nov 29, 2015 - 04:02pm PT
dude! whoa....
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Nov 29, 2015 - 04:54pm PT
Spectacular pics of some gnarly looking alpine craziness ;-)
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
  Nov 29, 2015 - 10:54pm PT
Bump 'cuz this is the real deal!
Always was intrigued by this route. Those images are amazing.

limpingcrab

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
  Nov 29, 2015 - 11:44pm PT
You are hardcore. Tons of great TRs popping up and I'm glad you took the time so I can read them in warm slippers on a couch!
johntp

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Nov 30, 2015 - 09:44am PT
Looks like comfy bivy. Not!
WallMan

Trad climber
Denver, CO
  Nov 30, 2015 - 12:13pm PT
Just below the Shaft was our high point as well. Not a comfortable bivy at all - correct! It was about 20 raps down from there - took us about 5 hours to rap. Yeah, all v-threads. The route was a bit too scary for me - lots of car sized mushrooms overhead. If one of those cuts loose and you are in its path - you are dead. Some poor soul bought the farm (in the late 80's I believe) from a mushroom collapse. But great great climbing getting to our high point. Most of is was pretty moderate - just the one tough aid pitch. Most of the harder climbing was still above us. Afterwards, I vowed never to do another cold weather snow climb where I could not end the day in a tent and free from objective danger. A vow which I have kept.

Thanks for the great trip reports Kristoffer and for rekindling my Mount Hunter memories. I am still hopeful of climbing the West Ridge. Failed on that route, too . . .
david wilson

Trad climber
berkeley, ca
  Dec 1, 2015 - 09:35am PT
Great to see these TR's - thanks for posting !
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Dec 1, 2015 - 11:11am PT
I've said it before, but I love the TR's that include a lot of pictures. People will google the route and find this TR. The photos will help them.

Plus they are just cool.
david wilson

Trad climber
berkeley, ca
  Dec 1, 2015 - 11:31am PT
Another great TR - thanks for posting !
wayne burleson

climber
Amherst, MA
  Dec 1, 2015 - 11:55am PT
Great photos! Bad-ass of you to get on this multiple times. And nice to see some actual climbing on the supertopo forum...
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Dec 1, 2015 - 12:02pm PT
Really bold looking route. Nothing like scratching around in crampons while your pro falls out. Yikes. Great photos.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Dec 5, 2015 - 03:39am PT
Thank you!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Dec 5, 2015 - 10:06am PT
Keep the TR's coming, man. You are posting some tremendous Trip Reports. The photos are now cached here safely online, and anyone going up there to do the route can see the photos. They can find them with a quick google search.

In that sense, the Trip Report section here is a great resource. These just happen to be particularly good TR's of great routes.
melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
  Dec 7, 2015 - 03:02pm PT
Can I call you,,DUDE,,Mugs route right??Looks STEEP,,Love that perfect ice above the prow shot,,poster for AK,,looks like you should keep rolling those dice,,chow mate
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