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    The Great Wall | New route on Mt Dickey for Tom Livingstone and Gasper Pintar

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    Tom Livingstone and Gasper Pintar are travelling back from a challenging trip to Alaska's Ruth Gorge that included a hard new route on Mt. Dickey that they've called 'The Great Wall'. 

    During the first third of the trip it was like living in a freezer. Between shovelling out the tents every day, we’d stare at sharp, snowy peaks which seemed to drift through cloud and light. ‘Ooooh….Woohoo!’

    We tried several routes, including Blood from the Stone and a direct start to Ruth Gorge Grinder on Mt. Dickey, and the west face of Peak 7400, amongst others. But when we swung our axes into what we hoped was ice, we found mostly unprotected sugar snow. We pushed it, bailed, then climbed harder.

    During the middle third of our trip, the sun began to arrive earlier at our base camp. We celebrated the sudden warmth on our two little tents amongst miles of glacier. ‘Wow, it’s here before 11am!’ we said, whilst frying everything we could eat in butter.

    I really enjoyed Gašper’s company, humour and high motivation. We talked and laughed about the world.

    The weather remained fickle, but we got lucky. We climbed a new route on the south face of Mt. Dickey (2909m) over four days. Since arriving, we’d been drawn to a big couloir high on the face, wondering if we could reach it via some ‘crazy slabs.’

    After a day fixing ropes, we launched. A subtle traversing line up steep rock led us to the middle of the face, pumpy ice and a cave bivy. Then we zig-zagged higher as snow fell (or rather, rose in the constant updraft and clouds). Many pitches looked like they would turn us back, always hard, always putting up a fight.

    A plush snow arête bivy ended day 3, and Pinti smoked his last cigarettes. The morning brought a short section of overhanging névé between heavy spindrifts. We topped out and walked down in mixed weather, happy and joking immaturely about Dickeys…

    In our final week, with warm weather, we made attempts on other peaks and routes (like Mt. Bradley and Ruth Gorge Grinder) but all were too dangerous for us. Gross falling snow mushrooms, or long steep protection-less pitches were unpleasant. In total we tried six routes, staying busy and psyched! Hats off to everyone that’s climbed cool routes in the Ruth.

    Conditions don’t seem to have been ‘good’ at all this year but we’re happy to have made the most of it, ‘crossed the crazy slabs’ by climbing our new route, and had a great Alaskan adventure.

    Gašper said it was the hardest alpine route he’d ever done. It certainly was a hard combination of many different types of climbing, over many different days, with many different tests.

    We’ve named it ‘The Great Wall’ because a) it’s a cool wall, b) we spent a lot of time wishing we had a suitable wall to stop our tents being buried with snow.

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