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New Route on Kichatna Spire

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Sean Isaac, Rob Owens and Roger Strong pioneered a 2,300-foot mixed route on the Northwest Face of Alaska’s Kichatna Spire on May 1. The route, which they named The Voice of Unreason, was climbed in a 25-hour round trip. The trio climbed 13 pitches to join the 1966 original route up Kichatna Spire’s North Ridge, about 650 feet below the summit, and retreated from there in the face of a rising storm, rappelling all night to reach their skis at sunrise. The new line follows a thinly iced chimney system with many pitches of M6 and M7 climbing, leading to a 1,000-foot ribbon of good blue ice. “In addition to hard climbing, the route also had some very aesthetic features, like an inch-wide vein of ice on the second pitch and a one-foot-wide runnel on pitches six and seven,” Isaac wrote in an email. The expedition was funded in part by Arc’teryx and a Mugs Stump Award.

The Voice of Unreason, Kichatna Spire
The Voice of Unreason, Kichatna Spire

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.