In late July, Brette Harrington, Hannah Preston, Andrew Rennie, and I spent two weeks base-camped out of Sunny Knob. On our first day, Harrington and I established a direct variation to the upper part of Serra 2’s approximately 1,500m south ridge. Most of the route consisted of easy but quality scrambling (5.7), but we climbed several more difficult pitches (5.11 A1) on the steepest section. The climbing would go free at 5.12, but we aided the crux due to our backpacks and limited gear. We descended southeast and down the Stilletto Icefall to Sunny Knob. Straight No Chaser (TD+ 5.11 A1) climbs approximately 400m of new ground.
A few days later Harrington, Preston, and Rennie made the first ascent of Dentiform’s south ridge, beginning from the Tiedemann Glacier, southeast of Sunny Knob. They encountered long sections of loose rock and climbing in the 5.9 range. From the top they rappelled to Upper Tellot Glacier and spent the night at Plummer Hut before descending back to Sunny Knob. It is possible that a faster party, or a party prepared to bivouac, may be able to continue this route beyond Dentiform to the summit of Stiletto Peak.
During this same time, I made solo ascents of Serra 5 and Asperity Mountain in an 18-hour push from base camp. The couloirs leading to the Asperity–Serra 5 col were severely threatened by rockfall so I climbed numerous variations. I first climbed the rock buttress right of Carl’s Couloir. Above a bergscrund I joined rock left of the upper couloir. Upon reaching the col I quickly bagged Serra 5 via its northwest corner in excellent mixed conditions. This was the first solo ascent of the mountain. After returning to the col, I spent the next couple of hours climbing Asperity. Once down at the col, with the sun off the snow, I tediously downclimbed the couloirs. The rock variation to Carl’s Couloir was later called Serra Marco (400m, 5.10a) by Preston and Rennie. However, I decided not to label my Asperity line as a new route, since it was just a crisscrossing variation to avoid objective hazards (1,600m, TD+ 5.10a WI3).
Rennie and Preston later reclimbed my variation and then made the first free ascent of Thunderbird, on the spectacular south buttress of Serra 5, eliminating a section of A1 with free climbing to 5.10+. Harrington and I also made an attempt on the southeast face of Grand Cappuccino tower, climbing eight fantastic pitches of steep granite to 5.12a. We were turned back by an exfoliating wide crack a pitch below the summit of the tower.
– Marc-André Leclerc, Canada