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North America, United States, Alaska, Kichatna Spires, Mt. Nevermore, East Face, The Call of the Raven

Mt. Nevermore, East Face, The Call of the Raven. In June, Mike Houston (a.k.a. Mausen) and brothers Doug and Jed Workman flew to the Tatina Glacier and spent 40 days in Alaska’s Kichatna Spires, making the first ascent of the east face of Mt. Nevermore. We had planned on scoping a route on the fly-in, but were unable to due to shitty weather; we were blessed when Mike Pennings and Jeff Hollenbaugh (who had been unsuccessfully awaiting a break in the weather to try the face themselves) handed us a photo of the unclimbed 2,500-foot face. Ferrying loads from the Tatina Glacier to the Monolith Glacier took almost nine days due to constant bad weather. Five days were then spent fixing 800 feet of rope from the ground. A camp was established on the wall, from where we climbed capsule style, fixing another 600 feet of rope to our next camp. In total, the climb, The Call of the Raven (VI A2+ 5.9), took 13 days, from June 16-July 25, with eight days being spent on the wall.

The lower half of the wall entailed lots of bathooks and thin nailing (A2+? … sure). Though the cracks opened up high on the route, the weather prevented much free climbing. After completing the wall itself, we continued on a fifth-class ridge toward the summit, eventually turning around about a quarter mile from the actual peak of Nevermore due to rain, lack of food, and 24 hours to make it back to the landing zone for our scheduled pick-up. The weather ranged from 60°F and sunny to 30°F and raining to 20°F and heavy snow. Sunny skies after heavy snows created an abundance of slush avalanches, which spit from high on the wall, keeping us mildly entertained. The adventure was the Workmans’ first trip to Alaska and Mausen’s first grade VI.

Doug Workman, unaffiliated