Sunday, January 31, 2010

Suntori (VI, M7, WI6, 1500m)

Climbed Suntori on Mt. Wilson last Thursday with Eammon Walsh. This is one of the best alpine routes I have ever climbed, it felt more like Alaska than the Rockies! Eammon is the perfect partner for this type of route since he is a very experienced alpinist and stays mellow & relaxed no matter what. He also broke trail to the base two days beforehand which was sweet!

As far as I know this was only the second ever ascent of the route, it was also the first time it has been free climbed (no aid climbing) or done in one day.

This was our second attempt on the line, two weeks ago we bivied at the base and then climbed the first three pitches before retreating due to avalanche concerns. More about that attempt here.

This time things went smoothly and we managed to complete the route in just 16 hours car to car. The crux pitch (formerly M6, A2) had some very difficult M7 drytooling but we both managed to free climb it in semi-darkness. We were very glad that we had already done the pitch once before, otherwise it would have been rather scary by headlamp! A bunch of excellent ice pitches and one more mixed section led to the final snowslopes and an incredible gully between the upper quartzite towers. In the gully, a 20 meter piece of rock was wedged between two of the towers about 100 feet up! We walked the 5 minutes up the backside of one of the towers before descending easily down the Lady Wilsons Cleavage gully.

Here's some pictures:

The route from the highway. photo: Eammon W.

Me leading pitch 2, the crux of the route, just as the light started reaching us. (M7)

Eammon at the top of pitch 2, it was fully light by this time.

Me on pitch 3 (WI4+)

Eammon on the steepest ice of the route, pitch 4 (WI6)

Eammon taking the spindrift in the face leading another sweet ice pitch.

Eammon in the gully near the top, the massive chockstone is visible behind.

Eammon smiling for the camera at the top of the climbing.

J. Mills
CRAG Owner & Head Guide

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