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Bold Ascents by MFF Recipient
September 2001 :: United States :: Ruth Gorge Alaska


Zack Martin was awarded a Mountain Fellowship Fund grant in both the spring and fall of 2001. For his fall expedition, Zack traveled to Alaska and completed some very impressive climbs.  See the short write-up below for the details.

The team of Zack Martin (USA), Machek and Jakub “Cuba” (both of Poland) completed the third ascent of the Cobra Pillar on Mount Barille in the Ruth Gorge of Alaska’s Alaska Range and the first alpine style ascent of the route.  With only warm clothes, boots for the descent and food the team began the route at 11am.  Leading in six to seven pitch blocks, Martin and Cuba on-sighted all the 30-plus pitches and completed the route in 42 hours of climbing, only resting for 3 hours.

Descending in a white out, the team managed to safely reach the glacier dazed but in good spirits.

Also while in the Ruth Gorge, Martin completed the third ascent of 'The Spirit of Mugs Stump' on the Eyetooth (V 5.10b/c 23 pitches).  The route ascends slabs following cracks of variable quality to a headwall in 14 pitches.  Winding through sharp, precarious flakes with marginal but good protection for nine pitches, the route ends abruptly.  Having chosen to climb light and fast, the team carried no equipment for snow travel and rapped off the route.  Once back in camp the route had taken over 28 hours and is destined to become a Ruth classic.