The Moose's Tooth

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The Moose's Tooth
Summit of Mooses Tooth.JPG
Highest point
Elevation10,335 ft (3,150 m)
Coordinates62°58′09″N 150°36′48″W / 62.96917°N 150.61333°W / 62.96917; -150.61333Coordinates: 62°58′09″N 150°36′48″W / 62.96917°N 150.61333°W / 62.96917; -150.61333
LocationDenali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, US
Parent rangeCentral Alaska Range
First ascentJune, 1964 by Welsch, Bierl, Hasenkopf, Reichegger (German)
Easiest routeHam and Eggs: rock/snow/ice climb

The Moose's Tooth (or simply Moose's Tooth, Mooses Tooth) is a rock peak on the east side of the Ruth Gorge in the Central Alaska Range, 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Denali. Despite its relatively low elevation, it is a difficult climb. It is notable for its many large rock faces and its long ice couloirs, which are famous in mountaineering circles, and have seen a number of highly technical ascents.

The peak was originally called Mount Hubbard after General Thomas Hamlin Hubbard — the president of the Peary Arctic Club — by Belmore Browne and Herschel Parker.[1] This name was revoked by the United States Geological Survey, which named the peak "The Mooses Tooth," a translation of the Athabascan name for the peak.[2] The official USGS name does lack the grammatically correct apostrophe.

The Moose's Tooth is located just to the east of the northern end of the Ruth Gorge, across from Mount Barille and Mount Dickey. It is the chief in a complex of rock peaks with names such as "Eye Tooth", "Sugar Tooth", and "Broken Tooth."[3] On the east side of this complex lies the head of the Buckskin Glacier, which provides access to climbs on the particularly large and difficult east face of The Moose's Tooth. Other access is from the Root Canal, a glacial landing strip on the south side.[4][5]

The name of the peak comes from its structure: its summit ridge is a long, low angled ridge running roughly east–west for about a mile, with steep drops to the north and south. This gives the mountain a vague resemblance to a moose's tooth. It also makes climbing to the true (east) summit from the west ridge (the least technical route) very difficult. The summit is more normally reached by steep couloirs on the southwestern side of the peak.

The Moose's Tooth aerial

The first ascent of The Moose's Tooth was in June, 1964, by four Germans, via the Northwest Ridge. In June, 1974, Gary Bocarde, Michael Clark, Charles Porter, and John Svenson climbed the lower Southwest Summit via the Southwest Face, for the second ascent of the massif, though not of the main summit. They found a great quantity of rotten rock.[6] In July, 1975, Jon Krakauer, Thomas Davies, and Nate Zinsser made the second ascent of the main summit, via a couloir on the south face which they called the "Ham and Eggs Route." This is the most popular route on the mountain today.

Notable ascents[edit]

  • 1964 Northwest Ridge to main summit: Welsch, Bierl, Arnold Hasenkopf and Reichegger (all German).[6]
  • 1974 Southwest Face to southwest summit: Gary Bocarde, Michael Clark, Charlie Porter and John Svenson (all US).[6]
  • 1975 Ham and Eggs, couloir on the south face: Jon Krakauer, Tom Davies and Nate Zinsser to main summit, July 16-18th.[7]
  • 1981 Dance of the Woo Li Masters, East Face (VI 5.9 WI4+ A4, 1520m) Mugs Stump and Jim Bridwell[8]
  • 1997 The Toose's Mooth (north face), Alaska Grade 6: FA by Seth 'S.T.' Shaw and Scott Simper, May 1, 1997.[9]
  • 2001 The Beast Pillar, direct start to Dance (VII A5 5.10b WI4+ M6, 1500m): Jim Bridwell and Spencer Pfinsten[10]
  • 2013 Bird of Prey, East face (6a, M7+, 90°, A2, 1500 m, one bivouac) : David Lama and Dani Arnold
Mooses Tooth from summit of Mount Barrille


  1. ^ Orth, Donald J. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names, p. 657. Geographical Survey Professional Paper 567. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1967. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  2. ^ That "Moose's Tooth" is a native name for the peak is attested by Bradford Washburn in "Mapping McKinley's Southeast Approaches", American Alpine Journal, 1956, p. 49.
  3. ^ Bragg, Beth. "Anchorage climber completes longtime Alaska Range goal," Alaska Dispatch News, 11 June 2013, updated 27 Sept. 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017. The Ruth Gorge's major "tooth peaks" are Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth, Eyetooth, Sugar Tooth, and Broken Tooth. Other nearby peaks include Wisdom Tooth and The Incisor. Also see "The Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier."
  4. ^ Campbell, Mike. "Climber dies after ice fall strikes Alaska Range campsite," Alaska Dispatch News, 28 April 2011, updated 27 Sept. 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  5. ^ Puryear, Joseph. "The Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier," American Alpine Journal, 2006. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Bocarde, Gary (1975). "Moose Antler Ascent: Moose's Tooth". American Alpine Journal. New York: American Alpine Club. 20 (49): 28–31. ISBN 0-930410-72-6.
  7. ^ Krakauer, Jon (1976). "Ham and Eggs on the Moose's Tooth". American Alpine Journal. New York: American Alpine Club. 20 (50): 285–293. ISBN 978-0-930410-73-5.
  8. ^ Beckwith, Christian (September 1, 2004). "Gods and Monsters". Alpinist. Alpinist Magazine (8). Retrieved 2009-05-29.
  9. ^ Shaw, Seth (1998). "The Toose's Mooth, Mixed adventures on the north face of the Moose's Tooth". American Alpine Journal. New York: American Alpine Club. 40 (72): 99–103. ISBN 0-930410-78-5.
  10. ^ Drozdz, Piotr. "Climb and More dot com Climbers - Jim Bridwell". Retrieved 2008-02-03.
Mooses Tooth centered with Denali behind


External links[edit]