7.27.2009

Alaska Part 4: Resisting A Rest -- IV 5.10+

It was onward to Tower 4 for our third climb


But not before some recon...


After climbing two long routes on consecutive days, we were feeling tired and sunburned. I was having some minor vision problems from all the glare, and my eyes had turned red, painful, and were watering constantly.

Jason and I hung out in the shade for a day and scoped out new potential for future days, but we knew the amazing weather would not last.







The next day we racked up again and headed out to the curtain wall, intending to climb the longest steep section of the wall, to the right of our prior ascent. We would then head up the West Ridge of Tower 4.


This time Jason led us over the moat and I took over for the first section of the steep wall.

The line was obvious, heading straight up a corner system for hundreds of feet.




I got the lead for a long, beautiful 5.10 corner which was maybe the highest-quality pitch of our entire trip.




Above this we encountered delicate climbing on hollow-sounding flakes and pillars. It was cerebral movement, carefully tip-toeing up the wall.




The rock was so clean and full of cracks, knobs, and fins, that we never had to do anything harder than 5.10c or 5.10d. After topping out on the wall, we expected a few easy pitches and much rambling to the top of Tower 4.



As often happens in the mountains, we had counted our chickens too soon and encountered some surprising challenges. A few hundred feet below the summit, there existed a vertical chasm that split the peaks, with what appeared to be blank walls leading down, then up the other side. We could not see this chasm until at its edge. The gap was very narrow across, but 100' down to some dicey chockstones in the bottom. We fixed one rope here, leaving us the option of prusiking back out if needed.



From a belay stance amid shifting and cracking ice remnants, Jason led a runout 5.10 pitch up and out of the chasm, and belayed me up from a stance stance while I shivered down in the dark.


Two more pitches of 5.8 and 5.9 got us up to the summit, and we had completed another new climb!

(But not before some fun)
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This summit area was fairly spacious, and the views were clearer than before.
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Here's a view of the line on the curtain. Following this was much alpine rambling, one rappel, and 3 pitches of 5.8-5.10 to the summit.


The descent was tedious, involving the creation of several new anchors, a wild swing across the chasm, and top-roping the face on which our rope hung, which clocked in at easy 5.12 but would be totally unprotectable. Here I am rappeling down into the Chasm before climbing out on the descent.


Because of our tired status, core shots to the rope (fixed with athletic tape), and worn out muscles, we initially were not sure we'd be up to the task of such a steep wall. However, it worked out great and all the climbing was fairly moderate, rewarding us for getting going. With this in mind, we named the route "Resisting A Rest."

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