Two Big Climbs in the Hayes Range

Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
The west face of Mt. Hayes from Mt. Balchen. In 1976, a team climbed the face to the prominent shoulder on the left. Photo by Jeff Benowitz

The west face of Mt. Hayes from Mt. Balchen. In 1976, a team climbed the face to the prominent shoulder on the left. Photo by Jeff Benowitz

Johnson climbing the initial icefield on Mt. Balchen's northeast face. Photo by Ryan Hokanson

Johnson climbing the initial icefield on Mt. Balchen

6/17/10 - Ryan Hokanson and Samuel Johnson have climbed one major new route and one new line without a summit in the Hayes group of the eastern Alaska Range. The two first completed a single-push ascent of the direct west face of Mt. Hayes (13,876 feet), the highest summit in the area. The pair spent 12 hours climbing the 6,500-foot route (V AI3 R), with moderate but sustained ice climbing at a calf-burning average angle of 55 degrees. They rappelled a different line farther to the north.

The left side of Hayes' west face was climbed to the north shoulder in 1976 (Davis-Gowans-Hansen), and at least two attempts had been made on the direct line, one getting very high on the face.

Looking down the endless 55-degree ice and snow of Hayes' west face. Photo by Ryan Hokanson

Looking down the endless 55-degree ice and snow of Hayes

Next they climbed a zigzagging line up the steep northeast face of Mt. Balchen (11,140 feet), turning around just below the summit because of a fierce lightning storm. They completed this 3,500-foot ascent in 10.5 hours at V AI4 M6. This face rises between the west face of Hayes and the Alchemy Ridge (northeast ridge) of Balchen.

See more photos at Johnson's Alpine Essence blog.

Dates of Ascents: May-June 2010

Sources: Samuel Johnson, Alpineessence.com, American Alpine Journal, Jeff Benowitz