Ruth Gorge Climbing
|GPS:||62.959, -150.693 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||110,454 total · 679/month|
|Shared By:||Steven Lucarelli on Jun 12, 2007|
|Admins:||Jared LaVacque, L. Von Dommelheimer|
Seasons vary and route conditions all depend on the weather and temperatures. Generally April and May are the best months if you intend to climb snow and ice routes as it is usually still cold enough to keep everything solid. Once June starts approaching the temps will begin to rise with the longer days and all of the peaks start to fall apart. Ice fall, rock fall and avalanches are a daily occurrence in June and July and traveling on the glacier can become very problematic as more crevasses open up and snow bridges get smaller and weaker. But June and July are typically the better months for rock climbing offering dryer rock and longer warmer days.
The rock quality in the Ruth Gorge varies drastically like no where I have ever been. On one end of the scale the rock can be bullet hard like Yosemite and at the other end it's more like climbing clumped together kitty litter. Most of the rock quality falls somewhere in between and if your climbing a long route you'll probably get to experience it all. There are some great classic routes like Goldfinger and the Cobra Pillar to be done but there is also tons of short craging to do if you want to stay closer to the ground for a day. Just make sure you take a good look at what lies above your intended route as it might be right in the path of a snow slope or icefall.
A few final notes for those that maybe visiting the Alaska Range for the first time are as follows. Glacier travel skills are mandatory for anyone going to the Ruth or anywhere else in these mountains. Ski's are highly recommended as they can span small crevasses and distribute your weight over a much larger surface area. Bring extra food and fuel because your return flight date off the glacier is not guaranteed if the weather deteriorates. And the most important thing is bring extra liquor because it goes fast (especially if there are mountain guides around)!
There are several options for where to land in the Ruth Gorge but they are mostly determined by what climbs you want to do and the conditions of the glacier. Earlier in the season it is possible to land right in the Gorge or even on the Root Canal Glacier if Mooses Tooth is your objective. As it gets later in the season most of the air services will only land at the Mountain House and unless that is where you want to set up base camp you'll probably have to drag your stuff down to the Gorge. And remember that just because you got dropped off in the Ruth Gorge that doesn't mean that they will be able to pick you up there. So be prepared to take your gear up to the Mountain House for pick up just in case.
Depending on where your base camp is located most of the approaches are pretty short and can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 or 3 hours. The crevasses get much worse as you get closer to the edges of the glacier so be prepared for some possible time consuming navigating. It took my partner and I about 3 hours to get across the crevasse field to the Gargoyle and it was only about 200m wide.
Classic Climbing Routes at Ruth Gorge
Days w Precip