Brits Force New Alaskan Route

Oliver Metherell and James Mehigan aren´t keen on beach vacations ­so they travelled to Alaska in April, just in time for the end of a two month high pressure spell. “The wind swung round to the South on the day we arrived,” said Metherell. According to a local climber, wind from that direction brings two types of clouds: serious and accumulating. The pair gave themselves just two weeks to pull off something special… The first ascent of the Couloir between the Werewolf and Hut Towers (6,700ft and 6,200ft). Metherell and Mehigan and Metherell battled sub zero temperatures, falling snow and marginal ice conditions on a 23 hour continuous push. The crux sections of the climb involved a struggle with an overhanging chimney that was shrouded by a veil of vertical powder snow. ?Running through the powder snow were these 4 inch wide tentacles of semi-consolidated snow-ice that made the route possible,? says Metherell. ?It included three pitches of stout Scottish Grade VII… with the second from last pitch being very similar to the moves out of the cave on Darth Vader (VII,8) on Ben Nevis.? Tower Couloir, Ruth Gorge, Alaska, ED, Scottish VII, A1, 500m