North America, United States, Alaska, Kichatna Spires, Kichatna Spire, The Message or the Money

Publication Year: 2009.

Kichatna Spire, The Message or the Money. After three days of pulling on plastic, playing ping pong, and having a few too many in Talkeetna, Zack Smith and I finally caught a break in the weather for a flight into the Kichatna Spires. On May 26 we settled into our enormous tent on the Cul de Sac Glacier. On the 27th the weather seemed good enough for an attempt on our primary objective, Kichatna Spire, so we skied up for a closer look. After ruling out the oft-tried laser gully on the north face, due to an abundance of snow mushrooms and a lack of ice, we decided on an obvious moderate ice gully to the left of Voice of Unreason (AAJ 2006, pp. 187-189). After easy climbing up the gully, we gained a col and launched into steep mixedclimbing. The mixed terrain was fantastic—some of the best I’ve climbed in the mountains— and led us on a circuitous path up the northwest face. At two-thirds height we intersected the North Ridge route proper, and followed it to the summit in deteriorating weather. After a few summit photos, we backtracked across the North Ridge and descended our route of ascent. We named the climb The Message or the Money, after a song by our favorite MC, Immortal Technique, and also as a good-natured jab at “new” routes that end far away from the summit, or even at the proverbial “end of the difficulties.” We climbed the route all-free with passages up to M6, and in 8½ hours ‘schrund to summit.

Josh Wharton, AAC