West Buttress of Mount Hunter
Whilst descending the West Ridge of Mount Hunter in 2001, after making the first ascent of 'The Prey' on its Eastern Buttress [MEF Ref 01/04], these Alaskan devotees decided that their next venture would be an attempt on the West Buttress of the South Peak, 4,250m. However, their arrival in Alaska followed a period of incredibly warm weather, so before committing themselves, they examined the approach from the air, and decided that the broken ground and danger from massive seracs made it unjustifiable. They therefore flew to the Tokositna Glacier and attempted a repeat of the Harvard Route on Kahiltna Queen, 3,773m (the highest peak on the French ridge of Mount Huntington). Although they reached pitch 27 (just above the first ascensionists' camp 2) in under six hours' climbing, they were unable to progress further, as the next section - usually an icy chimney - contained neither ice nor snow, just creaking loose blocks. Other routes in the area appeared equally unsafe due to the generalised melt-out, so they decided to cut their losses and return home early, donating their remaining food to optimistic teams which decided to sit it out.