2008 Giri Giri Linkup on Denali
After warm ups on the Bear Tooth and Mount Hunter’s Moonflower Buttress, Katsutaka Yokoyama, Yusuke Sato, and Fumi- taka Ichimura turned to Denali two properly finish a route and make a linkup of two very difficult routes.
These three Japanese alpinists were members of an unofficial group that called themselves the Giri-Giri Boys that traveled the world to attempt some of the biggest, most challenging mountaineering challenges that we know about. On Denali, they set their sites on a linking up the Isis Face, which had only been climbed twice before, and the Slovak Direct and connecting the summit. Combined, they would ascend 16,000 vertical feet on very steep, tiring routes.
Over eight days, including one spent in a snow cave during a storm. They simul-climbed (climbing with a rope between them but no anchors) the whole Isis Face. They attitudes throughout their climbs, as on other ascents, are extremely positive. They recognize the danger of a route, but quickly note how beautiful it might be.
Their most dangerous aspect, according to Yokoyama in Alpinist, was the descent after the Isis Face via the “Ramp” on Denali. It is a wide feature and direction can be difficult to maintain reasonably.
Through this linkup, this ascent made the first complete first ascent of the Isis Face. Jack Tackle and David Stutzman climbed the line in 1982 but did not continue to the summit, rather they stopped at the South Buttress and descended.
Arguably this linkup ascent had tangible impact; these same climbers visited Mount Logan in Canada two years later and made an even bolder ascent. This linkup also involved the great dangers of both of these well-known and challenging routes, incorporated impeccable alpine style, and for these reasons, it stands out above all other climbs as the boldest ascent in Alaskan mountaineering history.