5/25/11 - British climbers Jon Bracey and Matt Helliker spent six days in May climbing a new line on Mt. Hunter's 4,000-foot north buttress. The two men climbed a direct line up steep, highly technical mixed ground just left of the Bibler-Klewin Route (aka Moonflower Buttress) for three days, and then joined that route on their fourth day at the Vision, a cruxy rock band high on the face. They hauled a portaledge for bivouacs. The fifth day brought a storm that trapped them in their portaledge all day. At 9 p.m., with the storm easing a bit, they decided to go for it. Over the next 36 hours, they climbed the remaining 13 pitches of the Bibler-Klewin to the top of the north buttress, and then did 38 rappels to return to the glacier.
Bracey said the route was an Alaska Grade 6 (M6 AI6 5.8 A2). They called the climb The Cartwright Connection, after the late Jules Cartwright, who climbed a new route on Hunter's north buttress in 2000 with Ian Parnell. Cartwright had also hoped to climb this line. Photos from the new route are available at moonflower-expedition.blogspot.com.
Both Bracey and Helliker have extensive experience in Alaska. Bracey did the second ascent of the Grison-Tedeschi Route on Hunter in 2007, and also climbed the west ridge to Hunter's 14,573-foot summit and back in less than 24 hours. Together, Bracey and Helliker have done two expeditions to the Ruth Gorge, where they have completed new routes on three different peaks.
Click here for a video from their 2009 trip to the Ruth Gorge.
Date of Ascent: May 2011