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Ruth Gorge: Success on Peak 11,300 – final dispatch

Ahhh… Back in Anchor­age where warm water, dry clothes and unprocessed food abound. It’s great to have a cup of cof­fee and reflect on a great trip in the Alas­ka Range. How­ev­er, after 16 days of morn­ing cof­fee with Mark it seems a bit out of place. Mark and I enjoyed a great win­dow of weath­er with over­all good con­di­tions for our course and cho­sen objec­tives in the Ruth.

Our trip got off to a quick start climb­ing Mt. Bar­rile via the Japan­ese couloir in nice firm snow allow­ing for a quick trip up. After a thought pro­vok­ing mixed” tra­verse, we had a great sum­mit view of the mighty Moose’s Tooth mas­sif. We con­tin­ued with edu­ca­tion­al part of the course where Mark quick­ly picked up the sys­tems to exe­cute a crevasse res­cue as a sin­gle res­cuer. We also worked on a host of oth­er skills to trav­el safe­ly a smooth­ly through moun­tain­ous ter­rain in prepa­ra­tion for our main objec­tive peak 11,300.

Mark Ryman photos

The climb of 11,300 was great and had an enor­mous vari­ety of alpine ter­rain to put to use any and all skills you had. From glove free rock climb­ing to gen­uine blue ice we had a bit of every­thing. The days were long and filled with a vari­ety of weath­er to com­pli­ment the var­ied ter­rain. Our last few pitch­es up the ice dome were demand­ing at the least as the light fad­ed, wind built and threat­en­ing lentic­u­lar clouds formed like U.F.O’s in the dis­tance. The descent went well with a total of 11 rap­pels and some down climb­ing of snow and ice. The fol­low­ing day was all smiles bacon and rest after a clas­sic Alaskan grade 5 alpine route.

And a big thanks to Mark H. for hav­ing a lev­el head, great fit­ness, music, quotes and over­all knowl­edge of well… a bit of every­thing. He has a great love of wild places and was a plea­sure to be around.

(Pho­tos to come)


Dave Ahrens