THE CITADEL

Posted on: September 1, 2003


The east face of the Citadel in the Kichatna Mountains. Three new routes have been added to this face in the last two seasons. The original East Buttress Route (VI 5.9 A3, Black-Embick-Graber-Long, 1976) takes the right-hand skyline of the buttress. The route Off the Wall Madness terminated approximately at A, the juncture with the East Buttress. Routes indicated are as follows: 1. The Super Dupa Couloir (ED4: WI6+, 3,700', McAleese-Sanders-Turner, 2003). 2. Last Cry of the Butterfly (VI 5.10+ A4 80 degrees, 3,700', Belczynski-Kaszlikowski-Tomaszewski, 2003). 3. Off the Wall Madness (VI 5.11a A2, 3,000', McAleese-Turner, 2002). [Photo] Nathan Martin

In May, Stuart McAleese, Ollie Sanders and I climbed a new line on The Citadel in the Kichatna Mountains. The Super Dupa Couloir (ED4: WI6+, 3,700') was twenty-one pitches of ice, most of them Scottish grade V or VI, that took us three and a half days to climb. We went to the area earlier than most parties to take advantage of the good ice conditions. We had tried the line the previous year but retreated due to high temperatures.

The first day we fixed ropes and checked out the route possibilities. The next day we climbed twelve hours then chopped a poor bivy out of an ice ledge. A serious chunk of ice hit Ollie on his shoulder, and he was unable to climb; not wanting to miss out, he resorted to jumaring. Ninety percent of the time we could touch both sides of the gully, and it steepened the higher we climbed. On the last day we climbed more than 200 meters of vertical ice that allowed us to look straight down the entire route. It was the sort of route you wait a lifetime to find. We all stood on the summit with perfect views. The descent was made as it started to snow. After numerous 100-meter abseils through the night, we made the base as it started to snow buckets and reached the tents around 4 a.m.

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Over the next forty-eight hours it snowed nonstop, dropping more than a meter of new snow. It cleared for one day, during which we made a lucky escape; it then snowed the whole of the following week.

— Twid Turner, Gwynedd, Wales, United Kingdom

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