Alaska Success for Turner and Blakemore

01 June, 2015
North Triple (left) and Middle Triple with the Northwest Couloir obvious left of centre.
British mountain guides, Tim Blakemore and Mike ‘Twid’ Turner, have reported climbing a significant new line on North Triple Peak (2560 m) in the Kichatna Range, Alaska: a part of the world that Twid is very familiar with as this was his tenth expedition to the Kichatnas.

The route was climbed alpine style involving ice and mixed climbing up to AI6 with a ‘typical’ Alaskan cornice to finish. Definitely no longer fitting the 'young buck' category, Twid and Tim named the 800 metre route No Country for Old Men (ED AI6).

It follows 18 long pitches from the rimaye to the summit, involving an ephemeral ice smear to start, then a cleaving couloir all the way to the top. To access the smear the established Northwest Couloir route - obvious in middle of photo - was followed for the initial six pitches.

Twid said: "We had a great trip and made a fantastic first ascent. It was a 24-hour push up and down the mountain finishing direct on the summit. It's one of the best ice routes I've done and suitably tasty climbing."

Twid on the initial ice smear
He added: "The weather was pretty bad throughout the whole trip so we knew we had to take advantage of the small window of opportunity when it appeared. The line is fantastic and the climbing hard with sustained good quality ice for 12 of the 18 pitches”.

The Kichatna Spires are renowned for their notorious weather, so it came as no surprise to the pair that throughout the expedition they experienced harsh conditions with wind, cloud and rime ice adding to the experience.

They generally found stable ice and snow conditions in the range but were tent bound for much of the time. To reach base camp on the Tatina Glacier involves about an hour flight from Talkeetna.

In 2012, Twid and team climbed a new route on the northwest pillar of Triple Middle Peak Hard Arteries (A3 and Scottish V).

Twid and Tim would like to thank the MEF, BMC, Alpine Club, DMM and Power Traveller for their support.