“…[some of] the toughest days climbing of our lives…”
You can hardly wake up to better news than two of the crew absolutely crushing a bold new objective. On May 19th, Jon Bracey and Matt Helliker completed their new route Cartwright Connection on Mt Hunter’s Moonflower Buttress. Booyah.
The team endured ‘five of the toughest days of climbing of out lives’ through snow, high winds, a collapsing portaledge, ‘very complex and steep terrain full of overhanging snow mushrooms,’ ‘unrelenting snow avalanches’, thinly iced slabs, overhanging cracks, loose rock, and vertical ice.
“After being trapped in the ledge all day we sensed a slight lull in the storm at 9pm and could see glimpses of the sun through the clouds. We were both thinking exactly the same thoughts: this might be our one and only chance so let’s take it. With no food left there was no point in playing a waiting game. We quickly packed a stove, spare gloves, warm jackets and a minimal rack. Our goal was to reach the top of the buttress, 500 meters and 13 pitches of climbing above us. In reality we knew the chances of success were negligible. Two pitches later the snow started up again and we were battling hard against forceful spindrift. The cold was almost unbearable but somehow our optimism and unwillingness to give in won through. In a dreamlike state of exhaustion we stood at the top of the face at 5am. With no comprehension of what we had just achieved few words were said. We only knew we had to start abseiling with haste. 38 abseils and 14 hours later we were back on the glacier and collapsed, having been awake for 36 hours.”
Bracey and Helliker named their route The Cartwright Connection in homage to Jon’s good friend Jules Cartwright whose vision it was to attempt the line.
Piolets d’Or, anybody?