Italians climb new route on Cemetery Spire, Alaska
- Monday 26th June 2023
Italian mountaineers Silvia Loreggian and Stefano Ragazzo have added Gold Rush (5.12a, A1+) on Cemetery Spire in the Catherdral Spires, Alaska.
Silvia Loreggian and Stefano Ragazzo added what is thought to be a new line on Cemetery Spire in the Catherdral Spires group in the Kichatna mountains of Alaska between June 4th and 6th.
Writing on-line (www.alpinevibes.it) Silvia Loreggian and Stefano Ragazzo set the scene for their ‘summer trip’ before a long hard summer working in the Alps. “We leave for Alaska at the end of May, we have a month available and for the first time we challenge luck with a spring expedition, hoping to be able to take advantage of more hours of light during the day and eager to recharge the batteries before starting the summer season of work as Guides in the Alps. Our destination is the Cul-du-Sac Glacier, in the heart of the Kichatna Spires, an area little known to Europeans, but known by Americans for the beauty of its granite spires and the horrible weather influenced by ocean currents. Of these two aspects, of course, the one that attracted us was the first. while the second, was the compromise we accepted for our gold rush! We knew about the difficult weather of the Alaska Range, but when we actually arrived in this land, we discovered that in the vastness of the Alaskan mountains, the mountain group we had chosen was even more treacherous than the outline. but now the dice were cast!”
Having been initially restricted by high winds, finally Loreggian and Ragazzo got some better weather and enabled them to make their attempt. Having climbed the first two pitches on June 4th, they returned the following day at 7am. By 10pm they hit the summit and then started their descent. They took a short bivi in the early hours before continuing their descent back to their camp on the Cul de Sac Glacier. The route was established leaving a minimum of in-situ gear, a number of hand drilled bolts as well as some pegs and nuts. They reported finding an old belay c200m below the summit from what they believe to have been an earlier unsuccessful attempt.
Writing online Ragazzo described the 600m line as “the biggest adventure I've been looking for for years!" Ragazzo summarised the climbing on Gold Rush saying, “…a logical line that follows different systems of cracks until we reach a long dihedral of 200 meters that gives the direction to the line. The climbing was of great satisfaction because it allowed us to juggle in free almost always, on degrees between 5.10 and 5.12a (6a and 7a +) and to resort to artificial that little necessary to overcome the most difficult passages, interrupted cracks or a large roof at 90 °.”
The pair are writing more about their ascent here.