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.
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