If you’re following on Facebook or Twitter (@SuburbanMtnr) you probably already heard that Alpinist, as well as others, have announced that Jason Stuckey and John Frieh made the second ascent of Mount Huntington (12,240 ft./3,731 m.) in winter. According to Frieh’s blog, The House of Frieh, both Americans sended the West Face Couloir by the Nettle Quirk Route in an impressive and returned to the base in just 23 hours on March 19-20, 2011.
These two alpinists met by chance at the Anchorage Airport a month earlier. They soon hatched the plan and acquired good information on climbing the mountain in winter from Colin Haley, who made the first winter ascent in 2007 with Jed Brown, and also current weather information from pilot Paul Roderick and alpinist Mark Westman.
The history and the lines of the mountain are captivating. Located in the Alaska Range, several miles south of Mount McKinley/Denali and rises up from the Ruth Glacier, it was first summited in 1964 by the great French alpinist Lionel Terray. Terray was part of the first successful ascent of an 8,000 meter peak with Maurice Herzog on Annapurna.
The second ascent set up the events that may have made one of the greatest contributions to mountaineering literature: In 1965, four members of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, including now-author David Roberts topped out and then, on the descent in the dark, a spark flew and Robert’s partner vanished. He chronicles the events in The Mountain of My Fear, which he wrote in one sitting without re-reading or editing. It was and remains a unique piece of climbing literature.
With this rapid, fast and light ascent on Huntington by Stuckey and Frieh, the impressive stories of the mountain continue. Well done, guys!