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North America, United States, Alaska, Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Ruth Gorge, Ascents and Attempts

Ruth Gorge, ascents and attempts. The popularity of the Ruth Gorge continued, with many routes seeing ascents. The oft-attempted Cobra Pillar (VI 5.10+ A3, Donini-Tackle, 1991) on Mt. Barrill finally was repeated in June, by two parties. Canadians Jean-Pierre Ouellet and Stefane Perron made the second ascent, after fixing four ropes, in a 37-hour tent-to-tent push. Poles Maciej Ciesielski and Jakub Radziejowski, with American Zack Martin, made the third ascent soon after. Their ascent took exactly 36 hours (including a short break to rest and eat), and they reported mostly free climbing up to UIAA VII/VII+ and two pitches of aid, up to C2.

The Polish pair also repeated Game Boy (400m, UIAA VII+, Neswadba-Orgler-Wutscher, 1995) on the Stump Pillar (left pillar of the Wisdom Wall) and the Orgler-Jochler route on Hut Tower (800m, VI+/VII- RP1987) (“RP” means redpoint style). Radziejowski writes of the Orgler-Jochler, “The best rock of the routes we climbed in the Ruth, but still far from perfect.”

The Poles were also one of several parties to repeat The Dream in the Spirit of Mugs (V 5.10, Bonapace-Haas-Orgler, 1994) on the Eye Tooth. They report that Zack Martin climbing with a partner ahead of the Poles, led a new pitch just before the headwall, the direct lower corner (about UIAA VII). The Poles report this pitch to be the hardest of the route. (Ed. note: Zack Martin, a young, ambitious climber, died in a car accident on Thanksgiving.)

On the immense walls of Mt. Dickey, Mark Synnott and Kevin Thaw made an impressive attempt at a new route between the Roberts-Rowell-Ward route (5,250', VI 5.9 A3, 1974) and the Italian route (5,250', VI 5.11 A4, Bagattoli-Borgonovo-Defrancesco-De Dona-Leoni-ManicaZampiccoli, 1991). They climbed about 25 pitches, all free, up to 5.11-, in 11 hours, before bailing in bad weather. Synnott estimates their high point to be four or five pitches from the shale band, and reports that their attempted line contains “600-800' of the worst choss I’ve ever encountered.”