American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Ruth Gorge, Pt. 6400', Dream of Eggs, and Other Activity

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

Moose's Tooth, The Tooth Obsession to summit ridge. It was our fourth spring on the Root Canal Glacier. After climbing Ham and Eggs, we became obsessed with the idea of a new route on the magnificent south face of the Moose’s Tooth. However, most rock on the Moose’s Tooth, while looking as solid as Yosemite granite, is actually rotten and deteriorated. Often a cam can be easily pulled from a crack with a handful of rock crumbs and sand.

Nevertheless, we kept returning with high hopes. In April 2004, after climbing The White Russian, a new route on the Bear Tooth, we saw through our spotting scope a long dike of perfect granite going up the wall between Shaken, Not Stirred and Ham and Eggs. On April 27, 2004, Aleksey Shuruyev, Taras Mytropan, and I made the first attempt at the new route. The weather turned us away after only three pitches, but we were nevertheless excited, because we knew for sure that the dike was really there and it could be climbed. The next day was our last at base camp, but Aleksey and I scouted a few more pitches. This time we did five pitches, and went down with a strong resolution to come back and finish the route next year.

Our 2005 expedition started with Aleksey attempting the line with Dmitriy Shirokov. They did nine pitches but had to rappel down because they were not prepared to spend a night on the wall in the Alaskan cold. It took them six hours to get down through white- out blizzard conditions.

After a six-day storm, we returned as a bigger team: Aleksey, Dmitriy, Katya Vorotnikova (all Russian), and I. At 4:30 a.m. on April 28 we left base camp, and after nine pitches of perfect rock climbing, at 8 p.m. we reached a nice snow ledge where we could sit through the night. On the next day we climbed up and to the right, and after three more traversing pitches and one big pendulum, we reached a steep snow-and-ice couloir, which led us to a wet, ice-filled chimney, similar to the Ham and Eggs crux. The pitch after the chimney was much easier, and after finishing it, we found ourselves on the summit crest. We walked to the top of the Ham and Eggs couloir and at 9 p.m. started rappelling. It took us nine hours to complete 18 rappels (mostly on Munter hitches, since Aleksey and Katya managed to drop three of our four ATCs!).

The whole idea of the new route (The Tooth Obsession, 850m, V 5.10+ A0 WI4) belongs to Aleksey Shuruyev, who also led most of the pitches. Dmitriy Shirokov also led many pitches, including the crux at pitch eight.

Finally, at 6 a.m. we returned to our base camp, where Ilya Tatar (the youngest member of our team) met us with hot fries, steak, and wine to celebrate the success. At 9 a.m. Paul Roderick (owner of Talkeetna Air Taxi, the friendliest air service ever) came to bring us back to civilization.

Sergei Matusevich, Kiev, Ukraine

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