This is just a short photo TR. I got extra stoked to go to the Ruth Gorge from the supertopo and other trip reports online, so I want to contribute a few photos hoping for others to get psyched. (Very thankful for the great guidebook as well, we had a chance to chat with Joe's wife at TAT...)
Alaska is amazing. We had the pleasure to spend 3 weeks there this July. Six days were spent in the Ruth Gorge - just checking the place out and doing some low key cragging to get a taste, definitely not an expedition with a huge agenda. Honestly, the Ruth is such an amazing place - just *being* there was mind blowing. And the climbing was awesome - sweet granite and perfect splitters. If only the weather was better, eh? We had 2 mostly climbable days total (with some rain on the first day but nothing too major) - with which we were pretty happy, followed by an intense 2 day snow storm. We also spent 2 days in rainy Talkeetna at first, waiting for the weather to clear, but eventually it did and we flew in! They tell you the flight is amazing - and words do not do it justice. Even not climbing, the sight seeing flight would be mind blowing...
Our first objective was Goldfinger, here it is in the evening light:
By the time we setup camp and made dinner, it was midnight!
We woke up to showers, but the weather cleared up and it was sunny around noon!
This is the panorama view from camp:
Soon after, we started up the amazing corner of Goldfinger - very aesthetic feature with good rock and sustained, beautiful climbing!
The views never got old!
Did I mention the corner was amazing?
It had already rained on us twice so far, but it passed... the corner was wet in a few places but manageable. Unfortunately, however, it started raining and hailing properly after about 1,200'... so we had to make the heart breaking decision to rappel. Oh well, a great day of climbing, we were not complaining by any means!
The next day, we went cragging - just picking the cracks that look good and climbing them... some truly amazing quality splitters!!!
On day 3, we planned to do Hut Tower, and skied down the glacier. Unfortunately, the skies looked like this, but we kept skiing:
We made it back to the tent in time for it to start pouring, and total white-out. It snowed for the next 36 hours non-stop:
On the 6th day we were planning to fly out... and thankfully the weather cleared, but it was very cold in the morning - between 0 and 10 F... we woke up to this:
With a foot of fresh snow, the ski back up to the Mountain House was arduous to say the least. And it hid a lot of the small crevasses... I fell into one up to my waist with one ski, not a biggie. We were very relieved to make it up without any larger crevasse encounters... because the opportunities for that seemed plenty.
After flying out, we went on to a more relaxing part of our vacation... first going down to Seward and hiking around (Lost Lake was the best day trip), also did a Kenai Fjords cruise:
It rained a lot, but we did a bunch of hikes, fly fishing for sockeye salmon (didn't catch any though), and lots of chillaxing... after which we went back up to Anchorage and rented a sweet truck camper. We took that up to Hatcher Pass and went rock climbing there for a couple of days since the weather was looking better... Hatcher Pass is gorgeous!!!
And has some great climbing, too - yes, more granite!
It started raining as soon as we finished the last pitch, so we rappelled down in the rain... it was great to go back to the truck camper and dry out, then we even baked a pizza in the oven! Spoiled for life...
After Hatcher Pass, we went down to Homer...
We went sea kayaking, hiking, and more chillaxing...
And then, it was time to end this trip! Overall, the weather was very rainy, we only had about 4-5 clear days out of 22.. but that seems to be pretty common - and locals complained about this being a very rainy July, even worse than average... which made us glad to get what we could out of it! It was a great first trip to Alaska - and we barely scratched the surface. The Ruth, of course, was a highlight... go check it out! More detailed Ruth trip report: http://sightly.net/peter/trips/alaska2012/ruthgorge/