First Female Ascent of Deprivation

Posted on: May 19, 2008

Maxime Turgeon approaching Mt. Hunter's (14,570') north face. He and Zoe Hart made what is likely the fourth ascent of Deprivation (Alaska Grade 6: ED+ 90 degrees, ca. 6000', Backes-Twight, 1994). Hart is the first woman to climb the difficult route. Their successful climb is the second of Mt. Hunter in a week for Turgeon, as he, Freddie Wilkinson and Ben Gilmore ascended the Moonflower Buttress (Alaska Grade 6: 5.8 A3 AI6, 6,100', Stump-Aubrey [to last rock band], 1981; Bibler-Klewin [to summit], 1983) seven days prior. [Photo] Zoe Hart

Editor's Note: Kiwi Pat Deavoll made an ascent of Deprivation in 2004 (with Marty Beare) that ended on the top of the north buttress, not the summit of Mt. Hunter. Alpinist considers Zoe Hart's ascent the first integral ascent of the route by a woman.

Zoe Hart and Maxime Turgeon took advantage of a window of moderate weather to complete an ascent of Mt. Hunter’s (14,570’) Deprivation (Alaska Grade 6: ED+ 90 degrees, ca. 6000’, Backes-Twight, 1994). The line climbs the northwest facing wall of the north buttress of Mt. Hunter to the right of the more frequently climbed Moonflower Buttress (Alaska Grade 6: 5.8 A3 AI6, 6,100', Stump-Aubrey [to last rock band], 1981; Bibler-Klewin [to summit], 1983). Hart is the route’s first female ascentionist and this success marks what is possibly the route’s fourth ascent. It also marks Turgeon’s second ascent of the mountain this month, as he, Freddie Wilkinson and Ben Gilmore climbed Moonflower Buttress in a 52 hour roundtrip push only a few days before. Hart and the late Sue Nott had attempted the line two years ago, but found “absolutely no ice” on the route.


Turgeon high on the route. Hart called the conditions on the north face, "Killer!", particularly in contrast to what she had encountered two years earlier with the late Sue Nott. [Photo] Zoe Hart

The pair left camp at 2:30 a.m. and began their climb over the bergshcrund at 4:00 a.m.. Still in the dark, Hart was “pumped stupid” climbing through the first overhanging pitch, but then “it all started clicking”. The pair simulclimbed much of the route, with Turgeon leading the harder pitches—“he’s faster”, according to Hart—and Hart “suffering with the heavy pack, seconding”. Though the team dropped a belay parka high on the route, “a bunch of Quebecois cursing was the biggest epic”.

After 23 hours of climbing, the two stopped at a huge, solid cornice, where they found a horizontal crack that made for a perfect bivy. A three hour nap and some brewing time was followed by a 2.5 hour blast to the summit. The v-threads from Turgeon’s descent of the Moonflower Buttress were still intact, so the two made it down “relatively quickly, with only one stuck rope”.

A Mountain Profile of Mt. Hunter appeared in Issue 9. —Ed.

Sources: Zoe Hart, American Alpine Journal

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A/J also climbed the north face of alberta, n. face of edith cavel, and more that summer, sans press or concern for gender firsts. So why the new wave of horn tooting? philosophical question? generational thing? -chewonthat

2008-05-25 12:36:10

from the '93 aaj (but not the same andy). Hunter, Barrille and P 6000+. Julie Brugger and I made the third ascent of the north buttress of Hunter to the summit via the Stump route. It was in excellent condition during the nine days it took to climb it. We summited on June 3. We took another five days to descend the west ridge in bad weather. We then made the second ascent of the 1988 Austrian route on the east face of Barrille in two days, reaching the summit on July 4. The route was of good quality except for the entire section between the first and second towers, which was either rotten or under a watercourse. We also climbed a new route on P 6000+, the small wall a half mile north of the east face of Barrille (III, 5.10~). This 8-pitch route is easily accessible from the Mountain House and climbable during marginal weather when bigger things may be out of shape. ANDREW DE KLERK, Mountain Club of South Africa

2008-05-25 03:06:39
Freddie Wilkinson

Bilbo sayz:

I believe the Japanese Shi-Shi fellas did a complete ascent of Deprivation in 05 or 06.

If memory serves, during the 03 season nobody even made it as high as the cornice bivy. I'm pretty sure Rich and John's highpoint was the last pitch of the Come Again Exit, which, as K-dawg points out, is a ways from the true top of the Buttress..... 800 linear feet, or four rope lengths, to be exact.

There are many good reasons for not going to the summit. Bilbo frequently skips the summit so he can make it back to starbucks in Boulder before it closes, but then again, he's a real soul climber. But let's keep it honest and keep the record straight, eh?


2008-05-24 06:41:58

Howdy Steve and others interested in the history here,

I put a note in the 2006 AAJ about this (I work for the AAJ), which read: Editor’s note: Although Gentzel and Hobby have made no such claim, this may have been the first ascent of Peak 11,520', as the prior recorded climbing ended at the ridge, and the two known ascents of Hunter’s East Ridge [[11,520' connects into this]] route gained the ridge farther west than 11,520'.

—Pat and Marty climbed the couloir in 2003, but retreated along the ridge, just shy of the summit. Subsequently, Will Mayo made an impressively fast solo of the couloir and retreated from its junction with the ridge — at the time, Will didn't know about Pat and Marty's having already climbed the couloir (and nearly to the summit). He was excited about his climb, yes, and he also handled the news (of it not being a first) gracefully.

On another note, off the top of my head, as Chewtoy alluded to the N Butt of Hunter (meaning the aspect/face/formation; Deprivation is a specific route) has been previously climbed by a woman. If memory serves here, Julie Brugger and Andy DeKlerk (I probably butchered the spellings) climbed the Moonflower Buttress route a long time ago, maybe 4th ascent or so depending on how you count.

As for the route Deprivation, however, as noted in the title and text of this article, no woman has climbed it before (as far as I know; I've got a girl's name and attempted it, but failed). Pretty sure that the second complete ascent of the route was by John Kelley (reticent hardman — 6-line report in the 2003 AAJ) and Stephen Farrand in 2002. I remember seeing tracks up there, but thinking, "Huh? Nobody else around has been heading up here, have they? Must be debris marks" as Scott DeCapio and I were in the vicinity, failing on things around the same time.

So, I believe that Zoe and Max's climb was the 3rd complete ascent of the route, though I could be missing something.

In 2000, Bruce Miller and Jeff Hollenbaugh climbed the Come Again Exit (part of the Moonflower route; the Come Again exits into the 4th ice band, which leads to the Cornice Bivy) variation to Deprivation to the top of the buttress — I know they were well up the 4th ice band (about 500 feet+ of 50-degree ice, but generally bullet-proof and tiring), not sure if they reached the Cornice Bivy or not.

I don't know exactly where Pat and Marty stopped on their 2004 attempt. Sounds like (hi Pat!) they climbed the Come Again Exit, though.

Generally the Cornice Bivy, atop the 4th ice band/ice pyramid, used to be considered the "top of the buttress." From what I hear, the remaining 2k feet from there to the summit is not trivial — and if it were, everyone would just do it. In recent years, it seems that stopping several hundred feet below there, in the vicinity of the Bibler Come Again exit, has seen some claims of having climbed it. [Insert whatever your view on the age-old argument here.] Maybe it's a fair-enough point if you've climbed the Come Again, though when I've stood there and looked up, the buttress always seemed to "end" atop the fourth ice band, at the Cornice Bivy. Just my observation.

Most certainly, however, I think it'd be overly optimistic to consider it "done" just by reaching the 3rd ice band, below the Come Again. Disclaimer: I've reached the 3rd ice band a couple times myself, and it was quite clear that we were far from finished.

For a proper ascent of the original Deprivation, it's interesting, too — the original Backes-Twight finish, which Zoe and Max did, is one of the route's cruxes. Deprivation does a huge zig-zag at the 3rd ice band (not well represented in the photo above, I don't think), bypassing the Come Again to traverse to another crux pitch, as Zoe and Max did, super proud. Finishing with the Come Again makes plenty of sense, IMO, but it's not the original/true Deprivation. It'd be, like, "Deprivation Light" or something. Not dissing it — this was mine and Jonny Copp's plan on our 2003 attempt. Jesus H Christ, I'm rambling (as usual), and I digress.

I think history is important, to be sure.

I think Max and Zoe did a tremendous job — super duper impressive, both of them. Very inspiring. However, even inspiration has limits. I think that, considering Max's cute little Alaskan holiday here, and his previous AK climbs with LP, and his awesome solo in Pakistan this summer, maybe Max should retire soon and take up golf, regardless of his age. He's making us all look bad, damn it.

Congrats to you both!


2008-05-24 02:28:00
Steve Gruhn

So, following Pat's aside comment, the first recorded ascent to the summit of Peak 11520 near the Tokositna Glacier should be Pat Deavoll and Marty Beares in 2003, not C. Gentzell and S. Hobby in 2005. Is that correct?

2008-05-23 16:51:33

We've coined the term, "second first ascent" for the number of times folks go for press without going to the library of knowledge first. on an aside, I thought myface pages were where folks were supposed to toot their own horn?

2008-05-20 18:18:17
pat deavoll

As an aside.....I think it is important for anyone to do a bit of research before making a first ascent claim, especially in an area as popular as the Denali region. As a case in point, a few days before marty and i climbed Deprivation we made what we now know was the first ascent of the north face of Pk 11,520 in the Tokositna. A couple of years later Kelly Cordes pointed out to me a reasonably substantial and exhuberant article in Alpinist (or Rock and Ice?) by a climber (I forget who) claiming to have made the first ascent of the same route. I never bothered to do anything about it at the time other than have a quick personal grumble and forget isnt really the Kiwi way to blow your own trumpet and as the country suffers from a bad case of tall poppie syndrome, you tend to get shot down badly if you do. But i would hate to make a claim that detracts from someone elses achievements.

2008-05-20 17:42:22
pat deavoll

Just to set the record straight...

Marty and I climbed Deprivation (with the Bibler Come Again exit) to the top of the buttress (end of the hard climbing) in 2003. A day previously Brits Richard Bracey and Simon Cross climbed the Moonflower to the same point(editor: was this an 'integral' ascent of the Moonflower?). They arrived back at the bottom just as we were about to start the first pitch. A couple of days before that ascent, Kelly Cordes and Johny Copp climbed Deprivation to the third ice band before retreating in bad weather. I think someone else climbed Deprivation later that season as well but i dont know who. There were also quite a few attemts prior to ours where the climbers turned back at what was that year the crux- the first rock band. I hope this clears up any confusion- well done Zoe!

2008-05-20 17:14:26

I'm confused. The Mug's route was climbed by a lady almost 20 years ago to the top of the peak and then they descended the west ridge. They brought their kits with them and were gonna parapent off, but alas they climbed and summited mostly in a storm. Even back then this was not considered a significant ascent because it was the routes 4th or 5th. Have standards gone down since then? Or have we become some sort of generation where we need a slap on the back for everything we do? These facts do not of course diminish ones personal accomplishments, just question the public ones.

2008-05-20 11:30:19

p.s. according to the Devoll climbed to the top of the North Buttress in 2004

thanks zoe

2008-05-20 10:17:09

I was informed that the pair, Pat and Marty, made it to the third rock band, by local guru Mark Westman. It looks like the first account on the comments shection here would be that account. In the scheme of ascents it looks like this is what we are now calling a "modern ascent", as well as the "bibler come again exit." Max and I climbed the Twight Bakes exit, and climbed to the summit. None the less great work by Pat!!

I hope that my information was correct, I would not want to make false claims.

Thanks Zoe Hart

2008-05-20 10:13:56

23rd-24th May Ascent of "Deprivation", North Buttress of Mt Hunter We left the base of Deprivation at about 2am on the 23rd and simul climbed the first 300 mts of 60deg-ice band and WI 4 ice runnels, with me leading and Marty carrying the heavier pack. This got us to the base of the first crux. Marty then lead 3 x 60mt pitches up a very steep chimney of poor ice and unconsolidated snow, while I seconded with the smaller pack and guided the larger pack as he hauled. This was hard work, but it put us at the base of the first ice band at about Page 5 12 am. Four pitches of unpleasant glass like 60-deg ice got us to the top of the first ice band. Then I lead 5 really good pp up a leaning ramp system of WI 4 plus and mixed, while poor Marty carried the bigger pack (which by this stage I had found was too heavy for me to climb with!) One am. saw us at the top of the second ice band chopping a small ledge that we managed to brew up on and get a few hours cold and uncomfortable rest. By 7am we were away again, up the ramp system between the second and third ice band. Much of the climbing was on bulletproof ice covered in 6 inches of snow, and very tenuous and unpleasant. By 2pm we had reached the third ice band and were feeling the effects of our exertions. We stopped and cooked up some soup at the top of the ice band before abandoning the larger of the packs (Martys pack) and heading off up the 'Bibler Come Again Exit' with Marty in the lead and me carrying the smaller pack. Several more pitches of hard tenuous mixed climbing, and we reached the end of the technical difficulties, and our high point at 7pm. We were extremely happy. After taking some pictures we started to rappel the Moonflower route. The 35 rappels went without a hitch and by 3 am we were back on the glacier and on our skis back to Kahiltna Basecamp, 53 hours after leaving

2008-05-20 05:25:47

Not sure if they topped out though...

2008-05-20 05:21:25

I'm pretty sure the first female ascent was by New Zealander Pat Deavoll (partnered with Marty Beare) several years ago (2006?)

2008-05-19 22:46:02
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