As we head into mid-spring, alpine climbers are visiting to the world’s Greater Ranges to attempt new lines. Covid-19 all but stopped international travel in 2020, but with enough preparation, most high-end alpinists are managing to leave their home countries on expeditions in 2021.
Ines Papert and Luka Lindic recently travelled to Alaska to attempt some remote alpine in the Revelation Mountains, a somewhat obscure and seldom travelled area of the Alaska Range around 250 kilometres southwest of Denali. The two top climbers didn’t get the conditions they’d hoped for. “When we flew in, we had this crazy arctic cold around -25C at base camp level. During the next days (a week), it snowed around a metre. After this waiting game, the temps were raising up to nearly +20C, which did not help to get the right conditions.”
The first recorded trip was in 1967 by David Roberts and party. The difficulty and expense of accessing the Revelations have made climbers infrequent visitors, but a flurry of activity over the past decade has put it on the map for top climbers. In 2014, Canadians Kris Irwin, Darren Vonk and Ian Welsted visited the area and climbed around 65 pitches, including three first ascents. They reported the granite as granular with “interesting” protection. In spring 2016, Europeans Gediminas Simutis and Frieder Wittmann spent three weeks climbing new routes above the Fish Glacier.
Papert and Lindic have climbed a number of new routes in Canada, both together and with other climbing partners. Their most recent was with Bretten Harrington up the east face of Mount Fay in the Rockies, which they called The Sound of Silence VI M8 WI5.
Canadians Alik Berg, Maarten van Haeren, Peter Hoang and Ethan Berman are currently approaching the east face of Denali to explore new route options, read more here. And Canadian Quentin Roberts is currently in Nepal with Jesse Huey attempting to complete a big new route that he first tried in 2019, read more about that here.