Deep in the Great Alaskan Range, 100 miles from Anchorage, Alaska, are the Neacola Mountains — jagged, fierce, and big. Situated within these mountains is a never-before-climbed 6,522-foot peak, the Citadel. So alpinists Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey set their sights on climbing it.
In this story of pure adrenaline and adventure, Red Bull TV brings you the whole adventure from Helliker’s living room near Chamonix, France, to the beautiful mountain.
In Alaska, everything is bigger and more extreme — the avalanches, the bears and the remoteness. As a result, Helliker and Bracey are in a constant battle with their gut and their determination to reach the peak, which they constantly refer to as "the Holy Grail of mountaineering."
The climb to the top of the Citadel presented nothing but a mixed bag of challenges. Whether it was climbing styles, the elements or the rock. As soon as they believed they had conquered one, another popped up for the duo to overcome. Perhaps Bracey put it best when they were only a fraction of their way into a 20-hour day, saying, "This is REALLY full-on."
The first day's climbing was a day of epic proportions: 20 hours of free, mix and alpine climbing. The long Alaskan days were critical because 20 hours on the side of a mountain is not an easy task, and in the dark it would be worse. Like all good explorers and adventurers, these guys let nothing deter them.
Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a happily-ever-after story. The impossible does not become the possible; they came upon a granite wall that forced the climbers to choose between drilling into the rock or turning back. In a way you have to admire their respect for the mountain to not drill.
In this case, the wild remains wild and the mountain wins. See what the climbers went through in the full Explorer's series episode on Red Bull TV.