Mount Everest Foundation
Supporting the exploratory

Alaska Expedition: Mount Thunder 2019

Travel to the North Face of Thunder Mountain was hindered for a number of days due to poor weather before the team were eventually dropped by aircraft. Once established they found their objective to be covered in recent snow fall, but noted three potential lines on the face: a line with high avalanche risk to the right of the original line climbed by Jack Tackle and Jim Donini; a right slanting ramp that gave access to the main wall which was capped by a large snow mushroom; and a final line on the right hand side of the face that also looked possible but was found to be at high risk of serac collapse. With all three options considered too dangerous in the current conditions, they moved instead to Mount Hunter where they again found poor conditions and further poor weather that covered their intended route in large amounts of snow. They moved again to a third objective at the West Fork of the Ruth but were shut down again by heavy snowfall that saw them unable to climb. From here they decided any potential weather and condition window was unlikely and were picked up by plane. They note that their experience is indicating a shift in the Alaskan climbing season; winters are colder with less potential for snow and therefore ice. In addition, storms now seem to be coming later in the year; in May rather than April as was often historically the case. They suggest that the ideal conditions normally found in May have now shifted to June and climbers may likely find better success, including on their initial objective, by going later in the year.

May 2019
Tim Blakemore and Mike ‘Twid’ Turner

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