06 Aug New route and third ascent on Sugar Tooth Alaska
In late June Zack Smith – McNeill-Nott Award winner – and Renan Ozturk arrived in Talkeetna ready to fly into the Kichatna Spires. It had been an unusually warm June, so the pilot turned down their flight request, telling that it was too risky to land in the Kichatnas so the duo decided to go into the Ruth Gorge.
They ascended the famous Cobra Pillar (Donini-Tackle in 12 hours after starting possibly the fastest ascent to date, and descended the Japanese Couloir in about a 20-hour round trip.
Then they talked about the possibility of enchaining the major summits of the Tooth group, starting on the Sugar Tooth, up and over the Eye Tooth, onto the Bear Tooth, and then tagging the two summits of the Moose’s Tooth. The link-up would be enormous, technically challenging, committing, and aesthetic.
On the morning of the Fourth of July, the duo started up Espresso Gap, which gains the unclimbed south ridge of the Sugar Tooth. After a few hours of simul-climbing and soloing Zack and Ozturk established a new route to the top of the Sugar Tooth for its third known ascent (2,000′, 5.10, two rappels).
After a 70-meter rappel into the notch between the Eye Tooth and Sugar Tooth, they climbed up the Talkeetna Standard (Hollenbaugh-House). For the next eight hours they climbed along the insanely exposed snow ridge between the Eye Tooth and the Bear Tooth and stopped at a spiky summit between the Eye and the Bear maybe unnamed and unclimbed.
As the climbing ahead looked more difficult and exposed than what they had already encountered, after a cold “night” wrapped in our tarp without sleeping bags, they started back the way they had come along the ridge, arrived back at the summit of the Eye Tooth, and rappelled the 3,000-foot Dream in the Spirit of Mugs (Bonapace-Hass-Orgler) back down to the skis.
A rough estimate is that they climbed about 5,000 feet of rock, ice, and horizontal snow.
On June 20 2007, Jay Rowe and Peter Haeussler has made the second recorded ascent of Sugar Tooth (8,000′) in Ruth Gorge, Alaska Range, Alaska, via a new route: the South West Buttress (V 5.10, 50 degree snow, 20 pitches), after 2 attempts on 1995 and 2006
The first ascent of Sugar Tooth was completed by Austrians Andi Orgler, Tommi Bonapace and Raimund Haas via the West Face (5.10b/c with short sections of A2, 16 pitches) in 1994.
Source: Zak Smith blog on AAC