Today's post comes to us from Hayden Kennedy about a climb he recently attempted with Jason Kruk. Anyone who’s paying attention these days is blown away by the progression. The talented youth just keep getting after it, and it’s not just in cragging and bouldering. The serious alpine has always attracted only a few inspired stragglers, and today’s story comes from one of the best. Hayden Kennedy has redpointed 5.14c, free climbed El Capitan, and he and fellow youthful badass Jason Kruk have summited Fitz Roy in burly conditions. Oh – and he’s just now old enough to go to the bars (in the U.S, that is – it’s only 18 in Canada). Here’s a great piece on a great face by two great young climbers. -K.C.
“It’s just you and me and a big alpine face, this is what we came here for!” Jason Kruk says as we pack our bags at my van before embarking on an alpine-style push on the north face of North Twin. The North Twin is a beast of a mountain and it is one of the biggest and hardest north faces in the Canadian Rockies. The north face is about 5,000 feet and maintains hard climbing the entire way. It has only been climbed three times in 37 years and each of the three teams were leading alpinists at their time. George Lowe and Chris Jones made the first ascent of the north face in summer 1974; it was a groundbreaking route done in impeccable style. It would be another 11 years before alpine climbing legends Barry Blanchard and Dave Cheesmond established the North Pillar route, in perfect alpine style over four days in August 1985. Tales of horrendous rock fall, scary climbing and a long approach terrified people, and the face loomed over alpinists like a huge tidal wave about to crash. In April 2004 Steve House and Marko Prezelj made the third ascent of the face in mixed conditions; during the climb Steve dropped his boot shell, forcing Marko to rope gun the rest of the route. The stories and the legends of the North Twin make any alpine climber shiver just a little bit.
[Jason Kruk climbing the mental crux of the route, M7-ish choss. Photo: Hayden Kennedy]