Michigan Ice Fest is proud to announce that after a long absence, Josh Wharton is returning to the 2017 Michigan Ice Fest! We are so fortunate to have our Title Sponsor Black Diamond sending Josh to the event!
Josh grew up in the woods of southern New Hampshire; exploring, fishing and riding his bike. In high school, partly through the guidance of his father, Josh found climbing, and things have never been the same. Although people probably know him best for his alpine climbing adventures in Canada, Patagonia and Pakistan, he loves climbing in all its various forms, be it obsessing on a boulder’s micro beta or questing into a Himalayan alpine wall. Josh particularly enjoys objectives that require him to truly work hard, and push himself to new levels.
First Ascent of The Flame, Pakistan
First Ascent of the Azeem Ridge, Pakistan
Three-peat winner of Ouray Mixed Climbing competition (’09-’11)
First Ascent of The Message or The Money, Kichatna Spire
Free Solo of The Original Route, La Esphinge, Peru
First Ascent of The Wave Effect, Patagonia
2nd Ascent of The North Pillar of North Twin, Canada
300 plus 5.13 redpoints
5.14, V11, M11 redpoints
2nd one day Free Ascent of the Hallucinogen Wall, Black Canyon
First Free Ascent of the Dunn-Westbay, Longs Peak
First Ascent of The Black Sheep, Black Canyon
80 plus different routes in the Black Canyon
We are particularly excited to have Josh attend this year as he was involved in Jeff Lowes movie Metanoia which will be shown Friday evening at Mather Auditorium.
The Pack Retrieval
In 2009, climbers Robert Jasper and Roger Schäli found themselves in the exact spot that Jeff Lowe had been 18 years before. They were making the world’s first free ascent of the Eiger’s Japanese Diretissima (“most direct route”), which convenes with Lowe’s 1991 Metanoia route on Switzerland’s North Face of the Eiger, near the summit. As Jasper writes and Schali would later report back to Jeff: “After several alpine pitches and terrible traverses we finally reach the summit Icefield. Here the discovery: an old backpack, frozen solid into the ice… a very welcome belay as we only took two ice- screws with us. In all probability the sack was left behind by Jeff Lowe”.
When Jeff heard about the discovery, he was already making plans for returning to Switzerland as part of a film that was being born around the dining table of Lowe’s Ogden, Utah home. He hoped that they would be able to retrieve the pack during the process of filming for Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia.
On March 25, 2011, Josh Wharton spent over 2 hours chopping Jeff’s backpack out of the ice and snow, high up on the North Face of the Eiger. Getting the frozen pack onto the helicopter was quite precarious for everyone involved. Lowe was anxious to see the condition of the pack after 20 years on the mountain. Josh delivered the frozen, weather worn Vaude backpack to Jeff on the deck of the Bellevue Hotel at Kleine Scheidegg. The pack was frozen solid and hit the deck with a loud thud. Lowe felt a weight lift from his shoulders as the pack finally lay at his feet. Chris Alstrin filmed both the excavation and the delivery.
Jeff was relieved to have this bit of unfinished business taken care of after all these years. Leaving the pack was contrary to Jeff’s Alpine Style aesthetic, of doing more with less and leaving nothing behind. Circumstances forced his hand on that winter day in 1991 and leaving it all behind had been necessary for his own survival.
Josh also delivered a Jumar and Gibbs Ascender that he cut away with the rope that was attached to the ice screw along with the pack. It took 8 days for the backpack to thaw enough to be opened.
Josh makes his home in the small mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado, with his wife Erinn and daughter Hera. We are so thankful to Black Diamond Equipment for their efforts sending Josh to Ice Fest!