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Ruth Gorge tips?


Original Post
John Sims · · Lander, WY · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 5

Hey all, I am heading to the Ruth gorge this spring to try and do some of the moderate routes up there. I haven't done a trip on this scale before, so what are your suggestions? What are your tips, tricks, gear beta, route recommendations, routes in the Western US and Canada that would be good training routes? Anything and everything is welcome! :)

Dave McRae · · Bend, OR · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 823

Bring a snow saw for building your basecamp.  A floorless tent, like a Black Diamond Mid, is a game changer.  What looks like a tiny tent from above, can be dug out from below to make a huge cooking and hangout area out of the wind and weather.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,146

Lots of booze and lots of fresh food.

Blackmore · · Cedar City, Utah · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 20

Be prepared for fast, and unexpected weather change. I did a FA up the moose, and was stranded for 5 days.

Michael S. Catlett · · Middleburg, VA · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 175

Think comfort and warmth in base camp. There is little harm when you are being dropped off by plane. Extra food, beer and fuel will always be accepted by others on the glacier if you don’t finish it all. The only down side with extra gear is the off chance you have to ski to an alternative pick up with extra full sleds. Here are some items I found helpful:


Cooler to keep food from freezing

Lots of beer and more food than you think you can eat

Fulll size shovel for camp

Heavy and Warm sleeping bag for base camp and something lighter for planned stays on climbs

Wood board to place your stove on under the cook tent

Large pot for melting snow

Pad to sit on in the cook tent

Be creative about your cook tent development. Snow sculpted tables and benches

Skis are super useful tools on the glacier. If you don’t tour learn the fundamentals and bring them with bindings that work with climbing boots

Base camp stove that has great output.....don’t try to cook base camp meals with a small stove. Save that for the route.

Books.....when it goes to shit outside, a book will save your sanity

iPod and solar charger with Bluetooth speaker 

Lots of stuff sacks to organize food

Extra water bottles to put warm water in and drop in your bag a night

Need I say pea bottle

Baby wipes make life good and less odiferous, and sanitary. Bacterial wipes at you toilet pit.

Pack your gear is in waterproof gear bags so they can stay outside with no problem

Big tent for base camp and small tent for planned bivi if appropriate for climb. Dont try use it one tent for everything.

Bags for snow anchors for your tents and kitchen fly


Good luck and enjoy





John Sims · · Lander, WY · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 5

Thanks! This is all super helpful. 

I am looking at doing Japanese Couloir, Ham and Eggs, and Shaken Not Stirred, any recommendations on good "test piece" routes in the Western US/ Canada? 

Dave McRae · · Bend, OR · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 823

Here's a video that I made featuring Japanese couloir and Ham n Eggs:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgvIGSbMQNI


John Sims · · Lander, WY · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 5

Thanks Dave, nice video. It looks like you guys had an awesome trip. What time of year did you go?

Dave McRae · · Bend, OR · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 823

John, we went in mid-April.  We got the first lap of the year up Ham n Eggs, and had to break trail the whole way.  Lots of great powder turns!  It was the trip of a lifetime.


Michael S. Catlett · · Middleburg, VA · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 175

The longest climbs you will find are in the Canadian Rockies, but the length of the routes on Ruth are hard to replicate. They would certainly prepare you for multi pitched ice, but I suggest you put lots of time into full boady fitness, and perfect your technique and set up. It is all about climbing very efficient pitch after pitch, going up and coming down.

Good luck and climb safe.

Marlin Thorman · · Spokane, WA · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 385

A couple notes on prep routes.  Go get on Stuart Glacier Couloir in winter conditions (like early March).  Curtis Ridge on Rainier is another good one but it is more of a June route so you won't get that in before the Ruth.  I would definitely recommend the Southwest Ridge of Peak 11300 up in Ruth as a moderate objective.  Shaken Not Stirred is definitely a step up from Ham and Eggs (which is a trade route that gets guided a bunch).  Others have great suggestions for gear.  Definitely think camp comfort.  The reality is that you will probably be on glacier for 2-3 weeks and only climb a handful of those days.  I have a trip report up from a couple years ago when we climbed Ham and Eggs, Shaken Not Stirred and SW Ridge Peak 11300.  Here is the link http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1148663/TR_Ruth_Gorge_Alaska_Ham_Eggs_#Post1148663

Have fun up there, take lots of pictures, and spend time hanging out with the other climbers.  You won't regret it!!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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