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North America, United States, Alaska, Alaska Range, Mt. Hunter, Deprivation

Mt. Hunter, Deprivation. Jeff Hollenbaugh and I would miss the Shaft, but after watching other Moonflower hopefuls unload their massive haulbags onto the Kahiltna, we guessed Deprivation might better suit our style. We wanted to climb the north buttress of Hunter as fast and light as a winter spent on warm Colorado rock, not ice, would allow. We left Kahiltna base in early May, simuled past the ’schrund and up to the couple of crux pitches of the first rockband (and of the route: hard mixed, past vertical ice). Easier snow and ice put us at a bivy midway through the next rockband.

After a late start the next day, more climbing in the 50- to 70-degree range took us near an intersection with the Moonflower, which offered a more direct finish that we’d planned on taking from the start. Now on the Moonflower, we soon stopped to bivy below the third and final rockband. From here, the plan was to leave the bivy fixed and race unencumbered to the summit and back.

Unfortunately, the weather crapped out that night. Day three had us ducking our heads through heavy spindrift up to the Bibler-Come-Again Exit. We made it five more pitches up the buttress’s final 50-degree ice triangle before conditions forced us to call it a “modem ascent” and rap back down to our bivy.

That night, with the tent half folded over from avalanches, we considered the 20 60-meter raps still to go. Thankfully, the next day we onsighted the Moonflower descent without mishap. No joke: that was the mental crux of the climb, and stepping back onto the glacier, we were happy to be done with it.

Bruce Miller