The French Route had not had an ascent since it was first climbed by Benoit Grison and Yves Tedeschi in 1984
For this trip Jon and Andy were recipients of the Mark Clifford Mountaineering Grant. Details, including the climbers' CV's, at www.markclifford.co.ukJon Bracey reports: "Andy Houseman and I started up the French route on the 8th of May in so so weather. The first day we climbed the couloir under bombardment from some good spindrift. The last pitch exiting the gully was the crux with sustained overhanging ice. We climbed another two pitches before a bivouac on an icefield. The following day we climbed through the icefields with good ice runnels and mixed ground inbetween, and into the headwall. Sustained mixed climbing slowed our progress and a lack of bivi sites forced us to climb on through the night. We finally reached the top of the headwall at 4 am, and briefly dug in for a couple of hours rest before continuing on to the cornice bivi site. Here we brewed up, ate, and rested for two hours. Still very tired we continued on to the summit which we reached at about 9pm. The ground after the cornice bivi was quite time consuming with one section on steep rotten ice. A cold night was spent on the plateau below the summit. On the forth day we descended the west ridge back to Kahiltna base camp via the NW basin. A great route and amazing effort by the first ascensionists back in 1984."
Jon Bracey and Andrew Houseman were supported on this trip by The Mark Clifford Grant, UK Sport, Mountain Equipment, DMM, Crux, and Scarpa.
More details about Mount Hunter at www.supertopo.com.