4/30/12 – A team of young French alpinists has completed two very difficult new routes in the Alaska Range. After establishing a base camp on the Buckskin Glacier, east of the Ruth Glacier, the team climbed new routes on the northeast sides of the Moose’s Tooth and Bear Tooth during their 19-day expedition.
Christophe Moulin, expedition leader and mentor, along with Max Bonniot, Estelle Dall’agnol, and Robin Revest, spent seven days on Magic Mushrooms (1,500m, ED M6 90° A3), which generally followed an arete to the right of the 2008 Jon Bracey–Matt Helliker line There’s A Moose Loose About This Hoose. (The latter line had previously been attempted by French climbers Aymeric Clouet and Christophe Dumarest in 2006; Bracey and Helliker climbed within 100 meters of the summit but stopped because of serac danger.) Extremely tenuous vertical snow climbing and snow mushrooms comprised the cruxes of the French route. On the fifth day of climbing, the French rejoined the Bracey-Helliker line. Summit day forced them to traverse under dangerous seracs, including the one that had halted Bracey and Helliker, but after seven hours of tenuous climbing they reached the top.
Meanwhile, three other young climbers, Romain Jennequin, Simon Remy, and Jérémy Stagnetto, along with mentor Frédéric Gentet, climbed a complex new route on the east side of the Bear Tooth. The quartet climbed 900 meters during their first attempt, but turned back on the third day because of difficulties and a poor weather forecast. After four feet of snow fell in two days, they decided to make an another attempt, and this time, despite the damage to the thin ice caused by their first attempt, they managed to reach the top.
Their line started by climbing extremely thin ice up the granite slabs, followed by a striking ice gully, left of The Useless Emotion (Bridwell-Christensen-Dunmire-Jonas-McCray, 1999). They they traversed across the northeast face over the 1999 route and the 2008 Japanese route Climbing is Believing to reach the north ridge, which they followed to the top. The climb, Bear Skin (1,350m, ED+ WI6+ M5 A1), took four days.
Dates of ascents: March-April 2012
Sources: Frédéric Gentet, American Alpine Journal