Colin Haley has set a new speed record for climbing the massive Cassin Ridge on Denali in Alaska.Haley had attempted the record in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and finally got it on June 5 in eight hours and seven minutes from the bergshcrund to the summit.
Haley wrote on social media, “I’m sure that, as usual, some folks will chime in with pseudo-religious gripes like ‘this isn’t the spirit of mountaineering,’ or ‘this ascent has no soul,’ blah blah, etc. Speed climbing is just one subset of the activity of climbing, and obviously it’s not for everyone, but I personally find it very challenging and enjoyable.
“I’m under no delusion that a speed ascent of the Cassin Ridge is a comparable accomplishment to, say, a new route on the north side of Masherbrum, but after so much time and energy poured into this objective over many years, it feels very gratifying to finally pull it off. Unlike the Eiger, easily accessible from Grindelwald and easy to attempt at just the right moment, a speed attempt on the south side of Denali is very fickle. Conditions play a humongous role, and that was the largest difference between my recent success and earlier attempts.”
Cassin Ridge was first climbed by Italian Riccardo Cassin and five climbing partners over multiple weeks in 1961. The second ascent in 1967 by a Japanese team opened what is now called the Japanese Couloir on the climb.