The Mountain Waits for No Man, Even Alex Honnold
Earlier this month, Alex Honnold pulled off one of the most audacious free-solo climbs ever, up the nearly 3,000-foot vertical face of Yosemite’s El Capitan. So how does the planet's greatest climber follow it up? Not a problem. Honnold has reunited with two climbing partners, filmmaker and climber Renan Ozturk and alpinist Freddie Wilkinson, to take a second crack at a formidable route, called the Wine Bottle Tower, up the East Face of Alaska's Mount Dickey. Men’s Journal is tagging along to see if they can pull it off, and we’ll have regular updates as the team makes their way up the mountain, which rises 5,000 feet from the base of Ruth Glacier.
MOUNT DICKEY, ALASKA, 6/22/2017 — After a few days of waiting for the Wine Bottle Tower on the East Face of Mount Dickey to dry off, a go-for-broke climb seems increasingly less likely for the team. The conditions are just not right, thanks to a wet spring. They’re considering another significant climb in the area, but have not yet made a decision on what (or have at least not shared their intentions). In the meantime, for somewhat obscure reasons — perhaps just for the hell of it — they’ve decided instead to ski up and down the lower-angled West Face of Dickey. This was Bradford Washburn’s route on the first ascent of the peak, which probably plays some role in that decision. Still, it’s an odd challenge considering Honnold isn't much of a skier.
The three didn’t end up making it to the top, but it was an exciting day nonetheless. The crevasse issue in Ruth Gorge was a concern, and Honnold’s ability to descend Dickey was an interesting question, but he was fine. The three might try another route on the Stump tomorrow, but it’s hard to say. There’s now fog coming in, but there’s still a few days to make anything happen.