Alaska '17 - Slovak Direct & Moonflower Attempts




Snow holes, big storms and 'Chef Bob's' famous quesadillas. 


In spring 2017, Tom Livingstone and Uisdean Hawthorn spent 7 weeks in Alaska, trying to climb in the Central Alaskan Range, which includes Denali. They experienced poor weather for almost the entire time, with strong winds and low temperatures (-40ºC), and few 'good weather' climbing days. This is a video of their climbing attempts, acclimatising, and general malarky around camp.

The pair were gratefully supported by grants from the Alpine Club and the British Mountaineering Council, as well as Mountain Equipment, and their main ambition was to climb a new route on the Father and Sons Wall on Denali.

However, a low ice year and hot weather in early spring meant the wall was in very poor condition. Their attention turned to other objectives. They climbed to the Third Ice Band on the Moonflower/Bibler-Klewin route, on Mt. Hunter/Begguya in 17 hours. They were forced to turn back due to bad weather.

After acclimatising to the summit of Denali via the West Buttress, they made an attempt at the Slovak Direct on the south face, in a 'non-weather-window.' They met Gilbert Chase and Chantel Astorga after 1200ft, who had an updated weather forecast and were bailing from some way up the route, on their fourth day.

In a particularly poor year for weather and Denali summits, they tried to make the most of it and unfortunately, this time, were unsuccessful. They did, however, eat a lot of Peanut Butter and have a laugh.

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