Home > International

Colin Haley Solos the Infinite Spur on Mount Foraker

Colin Haley has had one of the most accomplished years by any alpinist ever. He has continued his big 2016 with two ascents of the Infinite Spur on Mount Foraker in Alaska. Haley refers to Foraker by its native name, Sultana, given to the peak by the Hudson Stuck. The natives had two names for the peak, one being Sultana meaning “the woman” and the other being Menlale meaning “Denali’s wife.”

On his Facebook page, he wrote that he climbed the route on May 27 with American Rob Smith in only 18 hours, which was a speed record. He then returned on June 1 and made the first solo of the famous big alpine ridge. He wrote, “My solo ascent was super fun and smooth, arriving on the summit of Sultana 12:29 after crossing the ‘schrund… For the second time in my life, I was slammed with a major storm while descending Sultana with a daypack. The full story I will attempt to put into words later, but when I finally arrived in Kahiltna Basecamp I had been awake for three days and had done a 24-hour period of lots of exercise but zero food or water consumption. Right now I feel a bit dazed.” Read about Haley’s climbs on his site here.

Infinite Spur was first climbed in the summer of 1977 by George Lowe and Michael Kennedy and it instantly became one of the great alpine test pieces of the Alaska Range. The second ascent came a decade later by Mark Bebie and Jim Nelson in 13 days instead of 18. The third ascent was made in July of 2000 by Barry Blanchard and Carl Tobin. In 2001, Steve House and Rolando Garibotti climbed the Infinite Spur in 25 hours, six days faster than Blanchard’s efforts. In May of 2006, Sue Nott and Karen McNeill disappeared while attempting the Infinite Spur. Their footprints were found less than 300 metres from the summit, but ended abruptly, and their bodies were never found.

Blanchard on the third ascent of the Infinte Spur (VI 5.8 WI3, 9,000'), Mt. Foraker (17,400'), Alaska Range, Alaska, 2000, Blanchard was 41 at the time of the ascent, his partner Carl Tobin was 47. Lions in winter? [Photo] Carl Tobin
Barry Blanchard on the third ascent of the Infinte Spur. Photo Carl Tobin