Alaska Ascents Confirmed

Posted on: June 15, 2010

The north face of Mt. Church (8,233'), Ruth Gorge, Alaska Range, showing the route climbed by Kazuaki Amano, Ryo Masumoto and Takaai Nagato from April 25-26. The AI4+ M6R line branches right from the Clapham-Pike at the obvious rock band in the middle of the face. [Photo] Giri-Giri Boys

Optimist (M6 5.9/5.10- R, 22 pitches, 3,000') on the west face of Peak 7,400', Ruth Gorge, Alaska Range. [Photo] Giri-Giri Boys

The Japanese team made what may be the first all-free ascent of the Denali Diamond at M7/7+. [Photo] Giri-Giri Boys

In the June 9, 2010 NewsWire, Alpinist posted a preliminarily bulletin about an impressive trip to the Alaska Range by three Japanese climbers. It stated that Kazuaki Amano and a couple new members of the Giri-Giri Boys—Ryo Masumoto and Takaai Nagato—had established two new routes in the Ruth Gorge, then repeated the Denali Diamond and Moonflower Buttress. Alpinist has received photos and confirmation of these climbs. Additional information not reported in the last NewsWire is detailed below.

Their first new route of the trip ascended the west face of Peak 7,400' on April 18-19. They named it Optimist (M6 5.9/5.10- R, 22 pitches, 3,000'). Then April 25-26 they climbed 17 pitches on the north face of Mt. Church, branching right off the Clapham-Pike to take a more direct line (AI4+ M6R) to the summit. Amano plans to name the route in honor of Tatsuro Yamada and Yuto Inoue, who died on Denali two years ago.

To acclimatize, Amano, Masumoto and Nagato made what they think was the season's first ascent of Denali's normal route, the West Buttress, from May 1-10. An all-free ascent of the Denali Diamond then went at M7/7+ for the Japanese, who believe that they are the first to climb the massive 8,500-foot route without aid. To cap off the trip, Amano, Takaai and Nagato climbed Moonflower Buttress (5.8 AI6 A3, 6,100') on Mt. Hunter, nearly reaching the top in a single 23-hour push. After a few hours of rest high on the route, they climbed higher on the buttress but descended instead of navigating the final cornice.

Source: Hiroshi Hagiwara

Mixed climbing the west face of Peak 7,400'. [Photo] Giri-Giri Boys

Amano, Masumoto and Nagato. [Photo] Giri-Giri Boys

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Colin Haley

I am quite confident that the Denali Diamond had not previously seen an all-free ascent, although it was only one pitch that hadn't previously been free-climbed. Nice work guys!

However, they definitely did not climb the Bibler-Klewin (aka Moonflower). They did make a strong attempt. An ascent ends at the summit. Some people have claimed success at the top of the buttress (more than 2,000 ft. from the real top), but to call it an ascent of the Bibler-Klewin without even reaching the top of the buttress is even more ridiculous. I'm not saying that these guys claimed that, as I know how wording gets twisted in the communication breakdown, but it was not an ascent.

The only ascent this season of the Bibler-Klewin was made by two young French climbers from Gap and Nice, Ben and Fred. They descended by the West Ridge, which has repelled all attempts this season.

2010-06-21 02:54:14

Freaking sweeet!

2010-06-18 06:59:56

Can I get a tall white mocha breve with 4 shots and a splash of peppermint?

2010-06-18 01:11:07

Can we get some confirmation that folks haven't freed the Diamond previously?

2010-06-15 09:54:43
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