"Mount Hunter is a siren. Its seductive song captivated me the first time I heard it. I have thrown aside logic and maybe even reason to try to climb it. I am not alone on this bewitchment" Scott Backes

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Interview with Matt Helliker

An interview with Matt Helliker about climbing in general and the Cartwright Connection new route on the North Buttress of Mt Hunter. Check the link... 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Teaser from 'Posing Productions'- check it out.....now!

It looks like Alastair Lee and Dave Reeves have been hard at work up in the Posing Productions headquarters. Today they released a short teaser to whet your appetites......


The film is expected out this autumn...

Dave 'Pap' Reeves is an exceptional cameraman, but don't trust his cooking!
Serves 2, your having a laugh....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Post Production

I am up in the Posing Productions offices going over the rushes from
all the filming. The boys have captured some truly epic shots on the
North Buttress and I have some pretty amazing ariel shots of the
face.... even found an awesome clip I totally forgot about with Matt
doing some comedic posing in his bright orange Patagonia
Onezie......Al and I have been pissing ourselves laughing all

Otherwise, both my big toes are still numb. I have been joining Al on
his afternoon bouldering sessions and have found myself totally
overwhelmed by the colours and textures of the countryside. Not being
able to wonder around on the glacier as freely as I would have liked,
I have now been pushed into sensory overload, the grass blowing in the
wind, the fertile landscape, the grazing sheep, the tiny shadows
created by the evening sun on rough texture of the grit stone.... the
warm countryside wind blowing through my hair (he says while Al is
furiously rubbing his hands together trying to generate heat).

Watch this space.....for updates regarding the film.

Dave aka. Pap

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Line...

We arrived back home two days ago, very jet-lagged and still completely knackered after the climb! Matt still can't stop eating and he admitted on the phone yesterday that he went for a run and was so exhausted he had to walk back home...ouch! Upon arrival at Heathrow I somehow got on a bus to Luton airport when I needed to go to Gatwick for my final flight home- luckily I eventually made my flight. And poor Dave Reeves had to do battle on the London Underground with 4 bags and about 70kg of gear.

For anyone interested in technical details we gave the route the follow grades:
Alaskan Grade 6 (M6, AI6, 5.8, A2). Although the climbing is significantly harder and more sustained than the French Route and the 'Moonflower Buttress'. It would be great if a strong team were to repeat our line and eliminate the aid in the future. Bivouac's are hard to find and I expect it would go all free at hard M7 and 5.9.

Here is a photo of Mount Hunter's North Buttress with our line drawn on:


Saturday, May 21, 2011

My view

Sorry for not updating for the last day or so, but on return from our successful ascent we have had no power to charge a empty laptop battery due to a full on storm hitting, that said a lot has happened over the passed 2 days. Yesterday wanting to get out and back to "dryland" we decided to break camp in a slight lull and dragged all of our equipment through half a meter of fresh snow the 1.5km to the landing strip on the glacier, where we were hoping that the following day would clear enough to allow us to get the plane out! but...as luck should have it that evening the storm blew through and a plane was able to get in at 8.30pm to get us out and back to Talknena. We have now just returned to Anchorage as we have also managed to get a earlier flight home in the morning, crazy how things have moved on so fast.
It takes me a while to write down how the 6 days on the wall made and now makes me feel, but i will start and as it sinks in as to what we have achieved I will write more. The most important thing for our success was that both myself and Jon where in the same head space, the dream, the commitment, the vision, the drive to succeed on a new route of this scale, and the ability to know totally what each other where needing and feeling, we didn't need to communcate this by word but just by the friendship we have and by the pull of the rope. The climbing was hard, dangerous, scary, but beautiful and it took everything we had in our minds and arms to be successful. The last 36 hour push to the top off the North Buttress and the 38 abseils later to the base off the wall, where like an out off body experience I have never witnessed before. Pushing through the super bad weather felt like we where always in complete control but at the same time fully wasted, we where not on our own, not like some "God" looking over us, or anything like that, I don't believe, but just that, we where not on our own, i can't explain it. nuff said! The route is the hardest and longest climb of my life so far, and there are many stories which i will tell you about over the next few days and weeks of the 6 days on the wall. but for now one stands out...after descending back to the glacier after the route, both wasted at the base, hardly able to move after poor food for 5 days and 36 hours with no food and 1 litre of water we lead in the snow as our body systems shut down now knowing that we where safe, we could see the Dave (Pap) in the distance skinning as hard and as fast as he could towards us, big rucksack and toeing a sledge, thank god, he's bringing us a warm drink and a load off food from Base Camp, cheese, bagels, salt crackers, beef jerky, fruit bars, peanut butter all things that we had been craving on the route and needing to eat to get us back on our feet and down the 1.5km to our BC. He showed up smiling as always and handed us a tiny fun size Snickers each, oh and one for himself and a cold icy half litre of dirty water. Thanks Pap.


Pic 1: Matt gets a tough wake up call on pitch one, day 2
Pic 2: An amazing pitch space walking on the 'Moon.......'
Pic 3: Day 4, we join the Moonflower route- Matt enjoying the 'Vision' pitch

Pic4: Matt and Jon happy back on terra-firma!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

'The Cartwright Connection'

Unrelenting spindrift avalanches and gusty winds constantly blasted and buffeted our portaledge. Our small cocoon of saftey on this harsh and hostile mountain was slowly being engulfed, as we nervously watched the snow level rise up the fly walls. Five of the toughest days climbing of our lives it had taken to get to this point and our chances of reaching the top of the North Buttress were quickly diminishing. There was nothing we could do about it and the forecast was for more snow and stronger winds over the upcoming days....

After our previous recce the first day on the wall went smoothly and things were going to plan. That night was less so as we realised the perils of hanging our portaledge on a 60 degree ice slope. We were awakened by the bang of the ledge as it suddenly collapsed and transformed into a hammock! On day two we faced many uncertainties with finding a way through some very complex and steep terrain full of overhanging snow mushrooms. Matt fort hard leading all day and finally got us in position below the steepest rock band of the climb at about 2am. By overcoming these difficulties our confidence grew and for the first time ever I started to think that we might have a small chance of getting up this climb! Day three was steep and scary.... thinly iced slabs, overhanging cracks, loose rock to aid climb up, a pitch of vertical ice and more. We finally got to bed at 6am! Day four we joined the Moonflower route and our new route was on- we just needed a little luck with the weather. Day five it snowed and wind blew.....

After being trapped in the ledge all day at 9 pm we sensed a slight lull in the storm 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 lets 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 to reach the top of the Buttress, 500m and 13 pitches of climbing above us. In reality knowing the chances of success being negligible. Two pitches later the snow started up again and we were battling hard against forceful spindrift. The cold was almost unbearable but some how our optimism and unwillingness to give-in was winning through. In a dream like state of exhaustion we stood at the top of the face at 5am, few words were said, with no comprehension of what we had just achieved. We just 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. We have named the route 'The Cartwright Connection' in memory of my good friend Jules as it was his vision to attempt this line.

Pic 1: Loving the ledge!
Pic 2: Jon hanging out with the haul bag
Pic 3: The portaledge before the storm hit
Pic 4: Jon battling steep mixed terrin, day 3
Pic 4: Finally at the Cornice Bivi, 5am on day 6