This May I found myself playing musical partners and talking the talk around "Kahiltna International Airport". We spent alot of time staring at this beautiful face and letting feelings of dread build.
1stly: A write up by the indomitable Brett Baekey, aka Pump Bandit, about our ascent of Deprivation. We climbed to the top of the buttress, finishing via the Bibler exit in a 21 hr push, and then rapped the wall in storm and heinous spindrift.
(in all truth an attempt: it was our intention to go to the summit.)
Registered NPS team name: Two dopes on a rope.
A big thanks to the Kellog Family and the Ritt Kellog Memorial Fund for making this life-changing trip possible.
Etymology: < medieval Latin dēprīvātiōn-em, noun of action from dēprīvāre to deprive v.
1.a. The action of depriving or fact of being deprived; the taking away of anything enjoyed; dispossession, loss.
despite the word itself being sortof raw, the route really was fun.
However I wouldn't recommend it to my friends; not many people like over-vert snice.
We got a better weather window a week later...
2ndly: All-in on The French Route, aka Grison-Tedeschi, with Kurt Ross. We climbed to the summit, with descent via the West ridge, for the likely 5th ascent, in a 75 hr push round-trip.
Team name: Crevasseholes. (unaffiliated with CC or the RKMF).
"At the top of “ski hill,” J.D. mentioned, “I’m not nervous because I think we can’t do it, but because I think we can.” I agreed. We stashed our ski boots and planks at the base, then went into business mode."
In these stories you'll find some recurring motifs including:
-95 degree unprotectable snice
-1500ft simulblocks at race pace
-But most of all: finding peace and solace in the impossibility of retreat...
...and an upward pull after the tipping point
The long polar day makes it easy to "hotwire" the circadian rhythm. This helped us through the long pushes and ensuing sleep deprivation.
On both of these pushes, we planned to sleep during the warmest hours of the day or not at all(mostly the latter), because our light kits were not warm enough to sleep through the night.
A big thanks to Brett and Kurt, everyone who supported us at every step of the way, all the wonderful people we met in KIA base camp, and the Ritt Kellog Memorial Fund.
After this trip I ate untold amounts of ice cream. It will be a while before I seek out another mind-bending experience like this again.