Alaska’s Ruth Gorge has been the scene of several impressive routes to kick off the traditional April/May Alaskan season. Notable amongst the additions were two impressive routes on Mount Bradley by American climbers Peter Doucette and Silas Rossi, climbed during the last two weeks of April.
Their first new route takes a large cleft just right of the well-known Blitz, House, Twight line ‘The Gift’. Doucette described their line starting on ‘steep ice and mixed ramp that leads into a beautiful mixed corner that is capped by a roof at ~800.’ Mixed climbing to M7, and some creative aid out the roof allowed us to gain the major chimney system that continues the full height of the wall.’
Notable pitches included ‘climbing the left wall of a wild chimney for 500ft that went at AI6 (AI5+ R). These pitches involved past-vertical “snice,” nearly show stopping anchoring, and a fair number of exclamations by both of us on lead. It was one of the most amazing single features we encountered on the trip.’ The routes 28 pitches ended in a ‘brilliant rope-stretching finish, we dubbed “The Mind Shaft” due to its straight-forward appearance but mentally jarring exit.’
The pair put in a 41 hour push to reach Bradley’s summit (note some other teams have terminated their routes well below the summit) and a further 8 hours to descend back to their camp. They named the 4000ft route ‘The Sum of its Parts’ and gave it the grade Alaskan V AI6, M7, A2.
Just over a week later they were back on Bradley for an ‘impossible-to-miss line of ice’ on the North side of Bradley’s East Ridge. ‘Heavy Mettle’ (Alaska Grade V, WI5+R, M6, A0) linked two couloirs, the second of which involved ‘1800ft of “snice” and water ice spackled into the back of the corner’. In all the 4600ft line took the pair 43 ½ hours, including a 3 hour rest break.
The expedition received the support of the 2012 Polartec Challenge Grant, and the sponsorship of Sterling Ropes, Outdoor Research, Brooks-Range Mountaineering, and Snap MyLife.