American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Denali National Park, Mt. Hunter, Moonflower Buttress, Ascents, Attempt and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Mt. Hunter, Moonflower Buttress, Ascents, Attempt and Tragedy. The Moonflower Buttress on Mt. Hunter saw two ascents this year and one tragic attempt. Steve Larson and Charlie Townsend began up around May 22; a day later, Joe Terrevecchia and Carl Tobin followed, catching up to them on the first ice field. The two teams continued to operate independantly, though they covered the same ground each day, until the top of the buttress, where all four men made camp in close proximity of each other. After three days of poor weather, they continued to the top together in blustery unsettled conditions, then recovered the ground on the descent. Terrevecchia and Tobin rapped through the night, while Larson and Townsend stopped at a ledge they had chopped at the second ice field, where they used a lightweight awning pulled over their tent to deflect the spindrift. They rappelled the rest of the route the next day.

On June 6, Steve Mascioli and Alan Kearney were attempting the Moonflower Buttress. On their fifth day on the wall, and after Kearney had just led pitch 17 (a rock pitch leading up to the shaft), a 30-foot-wide and 12-foot-thick dense snow cornice beneath a rock overhand gave way. It missed Kearney and dropped 100 feet onto Mascioli, killing him instantly. Kearney then spent two and a half days rappelling the wall with one rope, reaching the glacier on June 8.

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