MT. NEVERMORE, EAST FACE

Posted on: December 1, 2004


The east face of Mt. Nevermore, showing (1) Call of the Raven (VI 5.9 A2+, 760m, Houston-Workman-Workman, 1998). (2) Perfect Storm (VI 5.11d A1, 1000m, Lampard-McAleese-Turner, 2004). The east face of Mt. Nevermore can only be seen in its entirety from the west face of Middle Triple Peak. Neither the 2004 nor the 1998 team knew there were two distinct summits to the mountain. The climber in the foreground is Kitty Calhoun, on the first ascent of Ride the Lightning (VI 5.10 A4 WI3, 4,000', Calhoun-Gerberding-Osman-Smith, 1997) on the west face of Middle Triple Peak. [Photo] Jay Smith

After a four-day, snowy wait in April in Talkeetna, Paul Roderick of TAT flew Dai Lampard, Stuart McAleese and me onto the Tatina Glacier in the Kitchatna Spires. It was the third trip Stuart and I had made to this amazing granite area in consecutive years. As usual, we came across nobody else the entire trip.

The four-day storm had totally plastered all the faces with fresh snow; it also made crossing the col from the Tatina Glacier to the Monolith Glacier very dangerous. Once established between the vast west face of Middle Triple Peak and the east face of Mt. Nevermore, we started up on the far right of the kilometer-long east face of Nevermore via a pillar that led straight to the summit. We spent the first couple of days fixing 200 meters, climbing many of the pitches in waterfalls from the melting snow. We then started capsule style up the face.

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On Day 3, the weather worsened, becoming cold and snowy. For five days we climbed in bad weather. The climbing, which followed a continuous crack up steep walls, was on excellent rock, though most of the cracks needed to be cleaned of snow and ice. On Day 8, the weather improved and we made quick progress up fantastic cracks, free climbing all the way. We found a perfect cave, inside which we pitched our small tent, enjoying our first comfortable bivy. The following day we made the summit of Mt. Nevermore by 2 p.m. in fine weather. Although another route exists on this 1000-meter face, the team did not continue to the summit, so we assume our route, Perfect Storm (VI 5.11d A1, 1000m), was the first ascent of the face. The summit of Middle Triple Peak seemed only a stone's throw away.

The weather deteriorated as we abseiled the wall. Not wanting to be stuck in bad weather, we continued through the night, arriving back in base camp at 5 a.m., ten days after leaving. Later the same day Paul Roderick picked us up and deposited us in the Fairview Inn for an evening of festivities.

— Mike "Twid" Turner, Gwynedd, Wales, United Kingdom

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