Brette Harrington continues her 2018 new-routing spree in Alaska with two new routes on the Taku Towers above the Juneau Ice Cap.
This time she teamed up with Gabe Hayden and established a 360-metre 5.12a called SolarSphere.
Harrington said they added two bolts on SolarSphere, “We added in two bolts for SolarSphere, one to protect the crux boulder problem, which was aided on first ascent, then freed once the bolt was in place, and the other at the belay stance of pitch three.”
The other new route is called Sweet & Spicy and goes at 5.11c for 360 metres.
Since Harrington arrived in Alaska, she’s climbed and skied a number of big lines.
Here are two new routes Gabe Hayden and I put up this past week on the Taku Towers of the Juneau Ice Cap: SolarSphere 12a, 360m and Sweet & Spicy 11c, 360m. We added in two bolts for SolarSphere, one to protect the crux boulder problem, which was aided on FA, then freed once the bolt was in place, and the other at the belay stance of pitch 3. We hope to encourage others to go check them out. The rock quality is really great out there! @arcteryx @lasportivana @julboeyewearna @canadianalpinetools
With Caro North, she skied the 1,000-metre southeast couloir on Devil’s Paw, climbed a new 500-metre 5.10b M5+ up the Northeast Face of Southern Duke Tower and climbed the new five-pitch 5.10b up Taku Towers.
Before her trip to Alaska, Harrington visited the Canadian Rockies and climbed the new Life Compass with Rose Pearson, a 980-metre IV 5.10a M4+.
Earlier in the year, she led every pitch on the first ascent of Jupiter Shift, a 200-metre M5+ on the north face of Station-D with Marc-Andre Leclerc.
Leclerc and Ryan Johnson went missing less than a month later while climbing the Mendenhall Towers in Alaska. They were presumed dead after search and rescue workers found evidence that suggested they had been buried in an avalanche.
Harrington wrote about Jupiter Shift on her blog (read here), in which she said, “Up top everything was covered in a thick layer of rime so it took me a long while before I found a semi decent belay. As Marc climbed up, the sun was setting behind Mt. Slesse sending a cast of colors into the sky, illuminating the ridge lines in a blue and yellow contrast. He met me at the belay and we simul climbed together to reach the summit just as the light was fading.”
Before Jupiter Shift, Harrington and Leclerc made the first winter ascent of Ledge Mountain’s north face via The Walter/Zenger summer line. The two also made the second ascent of The Theft, a 240-metre M7 WI6+ in B.C. with Steve Janes.
Matt Skenazy recently wrote a piece titled ‘The Last Days of Marc-Andre Leclerc,’ in which he concluded the piece with, “In the days after the search was called off, Harrington returned to the Mendenhall Towers. She walked at the base of the cliffs, a safe distance from the runout zone. The snow was warm and wet, and it crunched under her feet. She had so many things she wanted to tell Leclerc.
“She stood still and listened to the towers. Listened for cornices falling. Listened for avalanches. Listened for rockfall. She heard only the perfect stillness of winter. Nothing moved. Nothing made a sound.”