Into the Wild, One Man's Paradise

Safe

Masatoshi Kuriaki just spent 75 days alone in the Alaska Range attempting for the 9th time to solo climb Mt. Hunter in winter.

His accomplishments: First winter solo of Mt. Foraker  in 2007. Winter solo of Denali in 1998. Walked from Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay 1998.

He lives in Japan with his family and has spent about two years of his life alone in Alaska in the winter time.

This year unfavorable snow conditions forced Masatoshi to activate his emergency beacon after 75 days on the mountain. Four feet of snow and warm temperatures created extreme avalanche danger, forcing him to stay put at 8000 feet. Before running out of food and fuel, or attempting to descend in extreme conditions he decided to request a rescue, the first time in his many years of mountaineering. On April 3, two days after the rescue call, Masatoshi was picked of the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter by Alaska Air National Guard helicopter pilot Andy Hermansky and short-hauled to base camp.

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St. Elias Mountains

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4 thoughts on “Safe

  1. Beautiful image.

    Sounds like it must have been really severe weather condtions for Matatoshi to request a rescue. I’ve never heard of him, but then I guess there are many courageous people who follow their dreams in the wilderness that don’t make front page news around the world.

    • Masa is a legend, first solo winter ascent. I have not met him, but I have heard he is a humble man. Returning to the same mountain 10 times in winter, alone for 10 weeks, attempting something nobody has done before. That’s newsworthy to me. I the news media and many of their readers think otherwise…

  2. Great shot of the summit! As you know Mt Hunter is the lowest of the ‘Big Three’ peaks (around 14,400 feet in elevation) that grace the Talkeetna skyline; the other two being Mt. Foraker (approx. 17,500 feet) and Denali (20,283 feet). I actually passed him on ‘The Haul Road’ back in ’98 while driving to The Arctic Circle…

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