MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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May 4, 2011

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