Two New Routes in Alaska

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Climbing between storms, Shawn Huisman and Sean Isaac managed to complete two new ice and mixed routes during a short trip to Alaska — their first visit to the Alaska Range. In a 17-hour round trip, the two climbed a gully up the 2,500-foot east face of Royal Tower in the Little Switzerland area. Canadian Bacon (M5 WI4) featured “foamy” ice and steep mixed ground; the two finished up the southeast ridge to the summit. After a short plane flight to the Tokositna Glacier, the two climbed the 3,500-foot south face of Thunder Mountain (most famous for being the scene of Malcolm Daly’s epic accident and rescue in 1999) via the “last major unclimbed gully feature” on the face. Maxim (M4 WI4+) followed a steep snow gully on the left side of the face that pinched down to shoulder width for a few exciting mixed pitches. A thin runnel gained the summit ridge.