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North America, United States, Alaska, Huntington, West Face

Huntington, West Face. Michael Kennedy and I achieved what may be the fastest airplane-to-airplane ascent of Huntington. On May 15, we landed on the Tokositna Glacier. The next morning in fine weather, we headed up the impressive couloir which splits the west face and diagonals into the Harvard route. This has been referred to as the Nettle-Quirk route, climbed by Dave Nettle and Jim Quirk in 1987, but a letter from John Jeffery to Climbing of August/September, 1993 attributes it to John Claymore and partner in 1978. Anyhow, we found the route to be an alpine ice classic, steep enough to be exciting but not too horrifying, and with virtually no hazards. On May 16, we bivouacked in sleeping bags on an exposed eyrie at the junction of the Harvard route and then hit the cornices of the French ridge and the summit at noon on the 17th. We rappelled most of the way down, but the warm weather had turned the lower slopes into waterfalls and rock chutes, and so we took shelter till the morning of the 18th before descending to camp. We flew out on May 19. Two Southern lads had also unsuccessfully tried the route ahead of us and their anchors helped our descent. A week later, Steve Maseoli and Michael Dmitri landed at our campsite, hoping to climb the route, but a hopelessly misplaced bear arrived, drove them from camp and devoured their food. The climbers radioed a pilot, who picked them up. The bear was last seen disappearing up the slopes leading to the French ridge!

Greg Child