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Stoked at Home: Rad 2005 Expedition to Alaska Spires

Canmore climbers Sean Isaac and Rob Owens head to Alaska with Roger Strong for Kichatna Spire

On May 1, 2005, Roger Strong, Rob Owens and Sean Isaac climbed a new route on the northwest face of Kichatna Spire in Alaska. They named the 700-metre route The Voice of Unreason M7 A1 WI5. It required a 25-hour round trip “day” to complete. Follow Isaac, who works as an alpine guide in the Rockies, on Facebook here.

The 13-pitch route terminated at its juncture with the 1966 original route up the north ridge about 200 metres below the summit. The line followed a thinly iced chimney system that eventually gained a 300 metres ribbon of blue ice which lead to the ridge. The chimney involved sustained mixed pitches that went all free except a few meters of A1 on pitch 3. They climbed all day leading blocks of three to five pitches with the seconds jumaring for speed. They gained the north ridge around 10:30 p.m. in a building snowstorm so exercised good judgment and decided to begin the descent.

Isaac posted a video of the trip in April 2020 and said: “After 10 years of non-stop expeditions, this was my last big trip before settling into parenting and guiding. Rob Owens, Roger Strong and I received the Mugs Stump Award to try the beautiful “laser line” on the northeast face of Kichatna Spire. We got turned around low on the route by massive snow mushrooms, and the straight-up ice line still remains unclimbed. Someone needs to go get it!”

Kichatna Spire