Tag Archives: Jon Bracey

Climbing Porn: The Moonflower

The video about Jon Bracey and Matt Helliker’s recent climb of Alaska’s Mount Hunter is due out in August. Here’s a little teaser.

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Chamonerds in AK: Bracey, Helliker Boost Fat New Route up Moonflower Buttress. Crikey!

Matt Helliker, Cartwright Connection, Moonflower Buttress, Mount Hunter, Alaska

Matt Helliker, Day 2. The caption sent with the photo reads, "Interesting ground above." Gotta love British understatement.

“…[some of] the toughest days climbing of our lives…”

You can hardly wake up to better news than two of the crew absolutely crushing a bold new objective. On May 19th, Jon Bracey and Matt Helliker completed their new route Cartwright Connection on Mt Hunter’s Moonflower Buttress. Booyah.

Jon Bracey making it look … not in the least bit easy.

The team endured ‘five of the toughest days of climbing of out lives’ through snow, high winds, a collapsing portaledge, ‘very complex and steep terrain full of overhanging snow mushrooms,’ ‘unrelenting snow avalanches’, thinly iced slabs, overhanging cracks, loose rock, and vertical ice.

“After being trapped in the ledge all day we sensed a slight lull in the storm at 9pm and could see glimpses of the sun through the clouds. We were both thinking exactly the same thoughts: this might be our one and only chance so let’s take it. With no food left there was no point in playing a waiting game. We quickly packed a stove, spare gloves, warm jackets and a minimal rack. Our goal was to reach the top of the buttress, 500 meters and 13 pitches of climbing above us. In reality we knew the chances of success were negligible. 
Two pitches later the snow started up again and we were battling hard against forceful spindrift. The cold was almost unbearable but somehow our optimism and unwillingness to give in won through. In a dreamlike state of exhaustion we stood at the top of the face at 5am. With no comprehension of what we had just achieved few words were said. We only knew we had to start abseiling with haste. 38 abseils and 14 hours later we were back on the glacier and collapsed, having been awake for 36 hours.”

Bracey and Helliker named their route The Cartwright Connection in homage to Jon’s good friend Jules Cartwright whose vision it was to attempt the line.

The Moonflower Buttress extends her welcome.

Cartwright Connection, Moonflower Buttress, Mt Hunter, Alaska

The Cartwright Connection (Alaska Grade 6, M6, AI6, 5.8, A2, 1800ish meters)

Read the full story and check out more images on their blog.

Jon Bracey, Matt Helliker, Cartwright Connection, Moonflower Buttress, Mt Hunter, Alaska.

Are we not men? Bracey, Helliker.

Piolets d’Or, anybody?

High Mountain Hijinks: Andreas Fransson, Morgan Sahlén, Couloir Jager

Andreas Fransson, Morgan Sahlén, Couloir Jager (TD+ 45˚-55˚/700m)

Videographer Bjarne Sahlén sent me this little video exactly a week ago today so I thought I’d celebrate this joyous anniversary by posting it. What the heck, that’s just the kind of guy I am.

Bjarne stalks Andreas Fransson and Morgan Sahlén as they descend the Jager on the coldest day of the year when it was -28˚C at the top of the Midi. Brrr… Keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot the cameo appearance by Jon Bracey on his way up to climb the Carli-Chassagne (III 4. 1000m) on the north side of the Midi. Probably took him a good 20 minutes or so. Slacker.

Rare video footage of the Jäger yeti who some mistakenly believe is thus called due to local legend that he lives in a snow cave near the Couloir Jager when in fact the Jäger yeti carries this distinction due to the overwhelming number of sightings that occur after a big night out.

For those who exist outside the bubble, the Couloir Jager is located on the east face of the Mont Blanc du Tacul (4248m) looker’s right of the Couloir Gervasutti. It was first skied on 7 March 1977 by Jacky Bessat. Anselme Baud describes it as 700m at 45˚-55˚. Right then, just another stroll in the park.

This is where I would have straight-lined it. Just sayin.

Morgan Sahlén taking the manly way down. Rockin’ the teles. Respect.

 

Fully dedicated. Bjarne Sahlén freezing his buns off to get the shot.

Alaska: Two Brits, Two Weeks, Two New Routes

Jon Bracey leading the crux pitch of Meltdown (1,300m, ED3 V M6 R). photo: Helliker

Jon Bracey leading the crux pitch of Meltdown (1,300m, ED3 V M6 R). photo: Helliker

OK, so I’m a bit off the back here but hey, a story about two Chamonix locs putting up two impressive new routes in Alaska’s Ruth Gorge deserves space regardless if it’s four months or four years late.

Been trying to get more deets from the boys but trying to pin down a coupla guides in summer in Chamonix is like putting cats in a bag so I’ll just regurgitate what I’ve seen on the web so far.

According to Climbing.com:

On May 10, the Britons climbed a line of ice runnels through steep granite slabs on the north face of Mt. Grosvenor, then followed a beautiful gully to the east ridge, with a crux pitch of M6 on rotten ice and fragile volcanic rock. They reached the summit after 12 hours of climbing, descended the south face to the col between Grosvenor and Mt. Church, and then continued to the glacier, returning to camp 20 hours after leaving. The new route, Meltdown (1,300m, ED3 V M6 R), lies between Once Were Warriors (Walsh-Westman, 2005) and Warriors Way (Walsh-Westman, 2006).

Bracey, Meltdown

Bracey, Meltdown

Helliker, Meltdown

Helliker, Meltdown

Meltdown, Mt Grosvenor, Ruth Gorge, Alaska

Meltdown, Mt Grosvenor (2,575m), Ruth Gorge, Alaska

Two days later, Bracey and Helliker climbed a new route on the north face of Mt. Church, well to the left of the Japanese “Giri-Giri Boys” route Memorial Gate (Ichimura-Sato-Yamada, 2007), the first route on the face. Good snow conditions allowed them to quickly reach a snow-stuffed, overhanging chimney high on the face. After Helliker’s painstaking battle with this crux lead, 250 meters of snow flutings led to the east ridge, where more insecure climbing past big cornices and rotten rock gained the top, 10 hours after starting. They called the route For Whom the Bell Tolls (1,150m, ED2 V WI6 and mixed).

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Mt Church (2509m), Ruth Gorge, Alaska

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Mt Church (2509m), Ruth Gorge, Alaska

Helliker leading FWTBT crux ((1,150m, ED2 V WI6 and mixed)

Helliker leading FWTBT crux (1,150m, ED2 V WI6 and mixed) photo: Bracey

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CHX homeys Helliker and Bracey

CHX homeys Helliker and Bracey

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