Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Cobra Pillar - first one day - speed ascent, Mt. Barrill, Alaska Range

In mid-June, Chris McNamara and I traveled to the Ruth Gorge in the Alaska Range, where we climbed the 2,700-foot Cobra Pillar on Mt. Barrill (VI, 5.11, C1, 23 pitches). After much work and many tries, the first ascent of this route was made by Jim Donini and Jack Tackle over 6-days in June of 1991. Two subsequent ascent were made in 3 and 2 days. Our goal was to make the 4th ascent and do it in a single-push, using Yosemite-style speed tactics. Leaving the ground at 3 p.m. on June 13 with one 60-meter rope, a double set of cams, one wall hammer/ice pick each, and no crampons, we made the ascent in 15 hours and 10 minutes, summitting the next morning just after 6 a.m.

For a full account of the climb, please visit my Alaska Climbing Blog:

The east face of Mt. Barrill, showing the line of the Cobra Pillar:

Chris leading the 10th pitch, which is a dead horizontal 100-foot right traverse to reach the splitter headwall cracks on the huge shield mid-route.

Chris leading the splitter 5.10 finger crack on pitch 12.