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Two new members of the Giri-Giri Boys, Ryo Masumoto and Takaai Nagato, joined veteran Japanese climber Kazuaki Amano for an impressively productive spring sojourn to the Alaska Range. The trio completed two remarkable first ascents in the Ruth Gorge followed by two demanding repeats in the higher peaks.
In mid-April, they climbed a new route (M6 5.9/5.10- R, 22 pitches, 3,000′) up Peak 7,400′, which lies east of Mt. Bradley (see recent news from Mt. Bradley in the April 17 and June 8, 2010 NewsWires). A week later, they climbed the north face of Mt. Church, first climbed by another Japanese team in 2007, via the first half of Amazing Grace (Clapham-Pike, 2009). But instead of continuing up that route, Amano, Masumoto and Nagato took a more direct second half to the summit and graded it AI4+ M6R. Both first ascents were climbed in alpine style and took two days.
In May, the trio climbed Denali’s West Buttress (Alaska Grade 2: 50 degrees, 13,100′) and repeated two Alaska Grade 6 routes. Over 80 hours they climbed Denali again via the Denali Diamond (AI5 M6 A1, 8,500′), freeing the crux tension traverse at M7/7+. And they made a 48-hour ascent of Moonflower Buttress (5.8 AI6 A3, 6,100′) on Mt. Hunter.
Please visit climbing.com for more on this story.