Maxime Turgeon approaching Mt. Hunter’s (14,570′) north face. He and Zoe Hart made what is likely the fourth ascent of Deprivation (Alaska Grade 6: ED+ 90 degrees, ca. 6000′, Backes-Twight, 1994). Hart is the first woman to climb the difficult route. Their successful climb is the second of Mt. Hunter in a week for Turgeon, as he, Freddie Wilkinson and Ben Gilmore ascended the Moonflower Buttress (Alaska Grade 6: 5.8 A3 AI6, 6,100′, Stump-Aubrey [to last rock band], 1981; Bibler-Klewin [to summit], 1983) seven days prior. [Photo] Zoe Hart
Editor’s Note: Kiwi Pat Deavoll made an ascent of Deprivation in 2004 (with Marty Beare) that ended on the top of the north buttress, not the summit of Mt. Hunter. Alpinist considers Zoe Hart’s ascent the first integral ascent of the route by a woman.
Zoe Hart and Maxime Turgeon took advantage of a window of moderate weather to complete an ascent of Mt. Hunter’s (14,570’) Deprivation (Alaska Grade 6: ED+ 90 degrees, ca. 6000’, Backes-Twight, 1994). The line climbs the northwest facing wall of the north buttress of Mt. Hunter to the right of the more frequently climbed Moonflower Buttress (Alaska Grade 6: 5.8 A3 AI6, 6,100′, Stump-Aubrey [to last rock band], 1981; Bibler-Klewin [to summit], 1983). Hart is the route’s first female ascentionist and this success marks what is possibly the route’s fourth ascent. It also marks Turgeon’s second ascent of the mountain this month, as he, Freddie Wilkinson and Ben Gilmore climbed Moonflower Buttress in a 52 hour roundtrip push only a few days before. Hart and the late Sue Nott had attempted the line two years ago, but found “absolutely no ice” on the route.
Turgeon high on the route. Hart called the conditions on the north face, “Killer!”, particularly in contrast to what she had encountered two years earlier with the late Sue Nott. [Photo] Zoe Hart
The pair left camp at 2:30 a.m. and began their climb over the bergshcrund at 4:00 a.m.. Still in the dark, Hart was “pumped stupid” climbing through the first overhanging pitch, but then “it all started clicking”. The pair simulclimbed much of the route, with Turgeon leading the harder pitches—“he’s faster”, according to Hart—and Hart “suffering with the heavy pack, seconding”. Though the team dropped a belay parka high on the route, “a bunch of Quebecois cursing was the biggest epic”.
After 23 hours of climbing, the two stopped at a huge, solid cornice, where they found a horizontal crack that made for a perfect bivy. A three hour nap and some brewing time was followed by a 2.5 hour blast to the summit. The v-threads from Turgeon’s descent of the Moonflower Buttress were still intact, so the two made it down “relatively quickly, with only one stuck rope”.
A Mountain Profile of Mt. Hunter appeared in Issue 9. –Ed.