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Upper Ruth Glacier and the 1.5 to 4 km wide "Great Gorge", flanked by up to 1,500 m high rising vertical cliffs. At the background the huge massif of 6,194 m high Denali (Mt. McKinley)

The Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier is one of the most spectacular gorges on earth. Buttressed on either side by solid granite cliffs that tower 5,000 feet above the glacier’s surface, this gorge is not only a spectacular sight, but offers world-class mountaineering challenges. Denali National Park (partial)

The Ruth Glacier covers the bottom of the mile-wide Gorge with ice up to 3,800 feet (1,160 m) thick. The glacier descends from 5,200 to 3,200 feet (ca. 1,600 - 1,000 m) through the 10-mile (16 km) gorge, traveling at 3.3 feet/1 m per day, a relatively fast glacial pace.

The Ruth Icefall is a 10-squre-mile section of the Ruth Glacier near the bottom of the Great Gorge. It is virtually impassable in the summer after the snowmelt.

Several mountains line the walls of the Great Gorge:

Mount Barrille, Mount Bradley, Mount Church, Mount Dickey, Mount Grosvenor (there another Grosvenor in Alaska, too.), Mount Johnson, Mount Wake, Peak 9100, Bear Tooth, Broken Tooth, Eye Tooth, Mooses Tooth, Sugar Tooth, Wisdom Tooth, The Shield, Rooster Comb.

Despite its relatively low elevation, Mount Dickey (9,545 ft/2,909 m; tall cliff over the glacier just little right to the center of pic) is notable for its east face, which has around a vertical mile (1600 m) of sheer granite. It achieves this vertical gain in less than half a mile (800m) horizontal distance. This is one of the tallest rock walls in the world, and the face has seen many world-class climbs. Mount Dickey is said to be the highest granite wall in North America, if you include the under-ice portion of the rock. The total vertical drop is about 2400 m (1500 m outside ice + 900 m inside ice).

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on January 4, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Johaarjoshimanth Gha…
    • Camera: Panasonic DMC-LC80
    • Taken on 2011/12/28 15:40:45
    • Exposure: 0.067s (1/15)
    • Focal Length: 8.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/3.400
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash