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North America, United States, Alaska, Hayes Range, Nenana Spire, Midget Porn

Nenana Spire, Midget Porn. In early March, Tim Cosik had a Swedish lady he had just met (who would soon become his pregnant wife) drop us at an obscure Fairbanks hangar. We knew we were in for an adventure when a kid met us at the door with a roll of duct tape in hand. Flying with a new glacier pilot is always stressful. As new climbing partners do, new pilots want to “prove themselves” to their clients. Rob Wing, third generation pilot, has a fitting name indeed. I’m his main climbing business, while moose surveys for Fish and Game pay on a regular basis.

The first flight, into the windswept upper Yanert Valley, was a tad interesting, with the small Cub barely making headway between the gusts. After Rob hand- started his prop and left us behind, it became apparent that the six-mile slog to the upper Hotel Glacier was going to take a while. Our skis were no match for the chest-deep unconsolidated snow and alder traps between us and our objective. After three days of crawling we were finally at the base. Neither of us wanted to discuss the fact that our objective was as dry as a Mormon liquor cabinet, nor think of the 40 miles between us and the road. As the temperature plummeted like D.B. Cooper with a sack full of Benjamins, we changed plans.

The south face of Nenana Spire (Peak 7,480') consists of numerous slots connected by steep headwalls of, in places, decent granite. The slot we chose, in the center of the face, had a crux pitch that was the route’s namesake: Midget Porn (2,000', IV 5.5). We saw summit after unclimbed summit from the top, but sadly we also saw our 40-mile ski out—Wing had moose to count. The ski out was fast by gimp standards, but we cursed moose all the way to the road. Of note: We saw no rockfall in the region, while in summer the place is a pinball machine.

Jeff apple Benowitz