UKC

Major New Route in Alaska for Silvestre and Graham

Underground Alpine climbing heroes Pete Graham and Ben Silvestre have succeeded on a superb new route in Alaska.

Their line is on the east face of Jezebel, which is in the relatively unexplored east part of the Revelations Range, at the south west end of the Alaska Range.

The line of Hoar of Babylon - VI WI6 M6 A0 1200m, 149 kb
The line of Hoar of Babylon - VI WI6 M6 A0 1200m
© Pete Graham / Ben Silvestre

Pete told UKC:

“Jezebel has been climbed twice before, but the east face was unclimbed. We spent 19 days on the Fish glacier, which is below the east face. Most of the time waiting out bad weather (it snowed 17 out of the 19 days) so we where pleased we managed to sneak this one in.”

Their route, now named Hoar of Babylon, took the pair three days in total, two up and one to descend, but they didn’t get cold through those nippy Alaskan nights.

“We had double figured negative temperatures, but the bivis were toasty warm due to our newly discovered system of zipping two sleeping bags together to make one big warm cocoon of man love.” said Pete.

photo
Ben Silvestre loving the suffering on Hoar of Babylon
© Pete Graham / Ben Silvestre

After initially setting their sights on the central couloir of Pyramid Peak Ben and Pete switched their objective after they realised they wouldn’t be able to land the plane on the glacier due to lack of snow.

“We had to change our focus to peaks further east in the range where there are more reliable glaciers for landing on. The north face of Jezebel was what initially attracted us to the peak being described as “the Grandes Jorasses of Alaksa.”

photo
The route had several pitches of hard technical climbing like this overhanging ice section.
© Pete Graham / Ben Silvestre

We flew into the range on the 25th of march and landed on the Fish glacier to the south east of Jezebel directly below the east face. We had never even seen any pictures of the east face before and were very impressed and excited to be dropped below such an amazing face that we didn't even know about and had never been climbed before.” explained Pete.

“We were pretty excited to find such high quality line that was near the limit of what we could manage. It basically had 4 pretty hard pitches, which were some of the best pitches we've climbed in the mountains, and a lot of more moderate and sloggy ground in between. The relevant number's are at a guess VI WI6 M6 A0 1200m.”

The line of the route showing the previously unclimbed right summit of Jezebel, 98 kb
The line of the route showing the previously unclimbed right summit of Jezebel
© Clint Helander

After quite an involved abseil descent the pair reached their basecamp as bad weather hit.

“A short elated glide on skis led us back to our tent, where we gorged ourselves on fried food and booze until the early hours. A fitting end to awesome adventure. We spent the next 3 days getting re-psyched to climb something else before a bit storm hit dumping over a metre of snow and we realised it was time to escape.  We had another 5 tent bound days with occasional trips out side to dig our tent out of the rapidly building snow, before we could get picked up.”


The pair would like to thank the Alpine Club, Austrian Alpine Club (UK), the BMC and the MEF for their financial support. And to Rab and Mountain House Europe for their jackets and food.



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