New Route on Moose's Tooth
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Ben Gilmore and Kevin Mahoney have climbed a new route on the famed East Face of the Moose’s Tooth in the Alaska Range. The two climbers flew to the Buckskin Glacier in March hoping to find extensive ice on their line, which starts up the Jim Bridwell-Mugs Stump route Dance of the Woo-Li Masters, the 1981 first ascent of the face, and then continues straight up where the Dance veered left. (Appropriately, Gilmore and Mahoney were sponsored by a Mugs Stump Award.) As hoped, the line was almost entirely ice, “or something that at some point was ice or at least resembled ice,” as Mahoney put it. However, their first attempt was stymied by an unprotectable offwidth. After a week of poor weather, they returned to the route, aided past the 30-foot offwidth, and free climbed the rest of the route over three days, with “huge” runouts and difficult-to-find anchors on the crumbly rock of the Moose’s Tooth. Despite those the hazards, the route had “the best pitches we have ever climbed in the mountains,” Mahoney said, including the “Pipeline Pitch,” a 200-foot chimney that starts four feet wide and narrows to eight inches. After a stormy bivouac in a cave, they went for the summit in “absurd” weather, comforted by the knowledge that they had a good snow cave to escape to. They spent one more day making 26 rappels down the route. The climb is called Arctic Rage (VI AI6+R, A2). This is Gilmore and Mahoney’s second new route on the Moose’s Tooth. In September 2000, they and Steve House climbed the mostly ice Southeast Face.