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Ruth Gorge. Alaska - veterans help needed

Original Post
Daniel Harding · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

Im coming from Australia to climb in the ruth from the 20th of April to the 13th of May.

Im struggling to find many suitable routes. I have the Alaska guide book but theres not a huge amount in there. Obveosly im looking for more options incase of bad conditions and i read somewhere there are hundreds of alpine routes in the routh.
AI4/WI4 is the highest id like to tackle.

So far the bucket list is as follows.
Ham & Eggs - Mooses Tooth
Frezzy Nuts - Warewolf Tower
Japanese Couloir - Mt Barrille
South West Ridge - Peak 11300
More classics needed.

Also you guys have had a warm year. Whats your opinion on conditions/ temps this year.

Im pretty sold on bring my new Arcteryx Arcrux AR boots but i wondering should i just bring my scarpa guides. How cold can it get in April?

Any advice will help hugely and give me peace of mind when packing my bag.

Thanks in advance. Dan

clint helander · · anchorage, alaska · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 613

Bring double boots. No reason to have your whole trip ruined by cold toes or boots that won't dry out over night.

Wake Up - Mt Wake
SW Route - Mt. Dan Beard

It's hard to tell what conditions are like right now given that it is only late february. Anchorage has a ton of snow, but apparently the AK range doesn't have as much. That doesn't really mean anything since it could dump ten feet in a single storm in March.

All of the routes you mention will be climbable regardless of conditions. Get Joe Puryear's supertopo book if you don't have it. It's full of other less crowded routes. Also, check out the AAJ for the Ruth Gorge. Sort by year:


Kevin Heinrich · · Kinda All Over · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 45

I was there in late April of 2016. I used Scarpa Phantom Guides and was fine with them. Granted we got pretty lucky with weather I suppose. I don't know if your planning on moving camp from Ham and Eggs down to Barille but you can always bring a couple pairs of boots (the joys of fly-ins!). Also check out Goldfinger on the Stump if you want to climb rock, and Mt. Dickey has a ton of insane alpine routes but also a mellow climb and ski descent if your into that. The NPS station in talkeetna has topos of hundreds of routes in the gorge. Have fun let me know if you want info on Barille, Dickey, Stump, or some mini objectives in the area that are fun!!

Nate K · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 225

Its true there are hundreds of routes in the ruth but the majority tend to be one of three things: A) incredibly dangerous B) incredibly difficult C) not interesting enough to be worth while (backside glacier slogs). The ones that arent either of those three things tend to be the classics that get climbed alot, and there is nothing wrong with repeating a classic alaskan alpine route. When doing your research on more obscure stuff be careful of what is above the routes (and descent) as some have pretty high objective hazard.

Clints advice on boots is solid. the Arcteryx boots are perfect for the ruth as theyre not too bulky but still doubles and you can dry them.

Be careful of Wake Up on Mt. Wake, the climbing is easy but its got some bite to it. the serac on wake that threatens the pocket beteween Bradely and Wake is pretty active and that ridge can be a nightmare. I cached my skis below the start of the route in a fairly well protected area last year and the serac broke and nuked the valley and took them out. after big snows huge cornices also form above the route and can sweep down it sometimes. In good conditions im sure itd be chill just dont be dumb and climb it after a snowfall like we did. Hardest pitch was maybe WI3+

There is a route in 747 pass that some Scandinavians put up thats supposed to be M5 and fun.

Go to AAC website and do a library search for Ruth Gorge and youll find some articles and beta same with alpinist magazine too.

Also given how warm things have been there in the last 2 years things might be falling apart by early may so be ready to move up to the East fork if that happens.

Other advive: Bring a cook tent, Get a sat phone, dont forget a wooden board to put your stove on, if in the great gorge move camp further down and to the middle of the glacier so you get much more sun, dont dig down to make a camp- cut blocks and make walls instead, and be careful of the international germ convention that is the TAT bunkhouse

clint helander · · anchorage, alaska · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 613

Joe Puryear's Ruth Gorge Overview from the 2005 American Alpine Journal is your best bet for a list of all routes (up to 2005). It doesn't go into great detail on every route, but you can get an idea for other semi-obscure routes in the area.


From the Root Canal, you can also check out the White Russian route on the Bear Tooth. It was repeated a few times in the mid-2000s, but I have not heard of it being done lately.


Cornhole Couloir on London Tower is another seldom-repeated line.
"The Ruth Gorge is not lacking in hardman routes, but fun moderates like the Cornhole Couloir are in short supply." - Freddie Wilkinson


Other than that, the list of routes from previous posts will more than fill your time there. If you do one or two of those lines, I'm sure you'll come away satisfied.

Daniel Harding · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

A big help. Thanks guys

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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