American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Ruth Gorge, Hut Tower, Southeast Face, Boy's World

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2000

Hut Tower, Southeast Face, Boy’s World. From June 12-13, Bob Semborski and I climbed a new route on Hut Tower in 30 hours round-trip from base camp. To the best of our knowledge, this is the fourth line on the formation and has the same approach as for the South Ridge. From our base camp directly between Mount Barille and the Moose’s Tooth, we started down-glacier at 12:30 a.m. on the 12th. By 6 a.m., we had reached the col between Hut Tower and the unnamed formation to the south (R 5,700'?). This section involved a prominent couloir of steep snow that gained about 1,300 feet of elevation. At the col, we rested and waited for warmer temperatures. Our original intention was to climb the South Ridge, but we decided that easier terrain lay around to the right (east).

The climb ascends from left to right through mostly moderate terrain, overcoming short sections of difficulty separated by longer, easier sections. Routefinding was fairly straightforward, even though the route zig-zags a fair bit due to tremendous looseness and wetness. We were convinced that this was virgin terrain because of the level of vegetation, loose rock and the complete absence of any apparent traffic. The climbing difficulty never exceeded 5.9 with the most memorable pitches being the second and seventh. The second pitch involved a stem around a huge loose flake followed by a squeeze chimney. The seventh pitch was an eight-foot-wide chimney capped by an enormous chockstone that created a five-foot roof. This section was exceptionally wet and loose, and reminds me of the roof pitch of Syke’s Sickle on Spearhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, only choked with ice. Two more pitches brought us to the summit, where the view of Broken Tooth was breathtaking.

The descent was via seven double-rope rappels back down to the col, requiring tension traversing from right to left. Except for the ropes getting stuck on the second-to-last rappel, the entire experience went remarkably epic-free. Rock fall was a constant hazard, but fortunately no one got hit. We walked (no, stumbled) into camp at 6 a.m. on the 13th and slept for two days. Out of respect for those hardmen who have gone before, we named this route Boy’s World (a much more difficult route called Men’s World lies around the opposite side of the formation).

Shane Wayker, unaffiliated

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