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North America, United States, Alaska, Ruth Gorge, "The Turret," Broken Down Palace

“The Turret,” Broken Down Palace. In early March, Scott Adamson and I headed into the Ruth Gorge for nine days to escape the world. We found extreme temperatures, lots of wind, and typical Alaska Range winter conditions. After eyeballing a new route on Mt. Dan Beard, we were reduced to making a ski tour of the middle Ruth instead. Camping below the amazing south face of Mt. Bradley, we decided to have a go at The Gift That Keeps On Giving. Finding poor conditions and nonexistent ice, we just headed left and kept climbing and ended up making a first ascent of an ice gully to the left of Bradley’s main south face wall, between the two dominant towers. After we climbed easy AI3 for the most part, the final two pitches reared their ugly heads, and we finished the final ridge and summited in the glow of an Alaska Range sunset. We descended the route, braving a cold night and fixing anchors for 70m ropes. We got some sleep, skinned up the glacier, and made it to our base camp at the base of Dan Beard just before 70 mph winds rolled in. Paul Roderick, true to form, rolled in several days later and saved our bacon, flying to the Sheldon House during a three-hour break in the storm.

We found no evidence of prior ascent in the gully and nothing on the top of the tower. But knowing this place, the tower has probably seen previous visitors. We named the route Broken Down Palace (IV 5.9X AI3) and called the tower “The Turret”—not the best climbing but a good adventure all the same.

James Stover, AAC