American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Ruth Gorge, Eye Tooth, New Climbing to Junction with Talkeetna Standard

Alaska, Alaska Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Jared Vilhauer
  • Climb Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 2011

During the last two weeks of April, Tim Ditt- mann, Dave Ahrens, and I attempted a new route on the west face of the Eye Tooth. We started up the obvious cleft between the Orgler route (Dream in the Spirit of Mugs, Bonapace-Haas- Orgler, 1994) and the Talkeetna Standard (Hollenbaugh-House, 2003). After the initial snow slopes, we roped up at the base of a chimney system cutting through the first rock band. This chimney was two pitches. The first: high-quality “frozen white stuff.” The second: committing, low-quality “frozen white stuff” that proved as nerve- wracking for the belayers as for the leader. We simul-climbed the middle snowfield to the base of a second chimney system, which had been a big question mark from the Ruth Glacier. Upon arrival at the chimney we were psyched to find perfect, narrow, steep ice—an amazing pitch. Two more pitches of great, rolling ice in this shoulder-width chimney brought us to the southwest ridge and the intersection of the Talkeetna Standard, where we spent almost two hours creating a bivy platform.

After a cozy night in our I-Tent, we continued up the ridge, climbing snow-covered rock for three pitches to the base of a giant rock wall. Here, we wandered the base of the wall looking for any weakness that would keep the Talkeetna Standard’s 5.9 rating. Not having rock shoes or sufficient aid gear, we turned around. After many raps, some of which were from gear left by Hollenbaugh and House, we landed back on the glacier.

Being close to the Gorge landing strip, this route could become fairly popular. Those willing to hang it out in the first chimney system will be rewarded with great climbing in the second, and hopefully a summit.

Jared Vilhauer, AAC

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