21 YEARS LATER
The trio performed the long-awaited first repetition of ‘Blood from the Stone’ (1,500 m, A1, WI6 X, M7+), on the east face of Mt. Dickey, which Ueli Steck and Sean Easton opened in March 2002.
Matt Cornell, Sam Hennessey y Rob Smith last week they performed one of the most anticipated pending repetitions of Alaska. This is the first repeat of Blood from the Stonea line opened more than two decades ago by Ueli Steck and Sean Easton in the impressive East face of Mt. Dickey.
Sport Every mountaineer’s dream
That was the title of the news item published by Desnivel.com in the spring of 2002, about the adventure of Ueli Steck and Sean Easton in it Mt. Dickey and paraphrasing the latter. The then 26-year-old Swiss and Canadian used a four-day window of good weather to fight their way through what they called “perfect line”.
They described their itinerary, which ran through a tube and crack system that runs the entire length of the wall, accumulating ice and constant “splashes” of snow, except for a section of 100 meters, which demanded his dexterity on the rock. Of course, Sean assures that the icy plates were so thin that they barely allowed them to continue upwards.
Regarding the name, they opted for a reference to the complexity of the climb, which they saw as difficult as getting blood from the rock. Hence his Blood from the Stone.
Sport Target since 2005
Three years later, a young Rob Smith first traveled to Alaska Rangewith the already deceased Brian Teale. And so he tells how his own dream of climbing the line was born:
We camped for a week under the east face of Mt. Dickey. Right out of the plane, Brian pointed out a very impressive line on the slope called Blood from the Stone, opened by Sean Easton and “a Swiss guy” named Ueli Steck. On that journey with Brian 18 years ago, I set myself a very specific goal of trying to repeat this line one day.
Sport goal accomplished
That day came last week. “My dream came true when perfect weather and perfect conditions along with the perfect partners lined up to climb this incredible route”he writes excitedly on his social networks, where he assures that “This has been by far the highest quality route I have climbed in my life”.
His two roped partners were also shooting in the same direction on their social networks. Matt Cornell I had already been last year in the East face of Mt. Dickeyto open Aim for the bushes (1.600 m, AI6, M6 X) con Alan Rousseau y Jackson Marvellwho in turn had attempted the repetition of Blood from the Stone in 2019 although then they ended up opening Ruth Gorge Grinder (1.500 m, AI6+, M7). “I can easily say that this has been the best climb I have been lucky enough to experience”assures.
Sam Hennesseyfor his part, points out that “I can’t believe everything has lined up for this one. Congratulations to Sean and Ueli, what a line!”.
As a curiosity, the three protagonists of the repetition of Blood from Stone signed last year fastest ascents of the Slovak direct al Denali. First it was Matt Cornell, with Jackson Marvell and Alan Rousseau, who did it in 9:35 pm. And a few days later Sam Hennessey and Rob Smith arrived, with Michael Gardner, to improve the time and cover it in 17h10′.