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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Sarah Palin Attempts to Summit Non-existent Alaskan Peak

Alaska's former governor and VP candidate sparks Twitter flame war over trumped-up adventure on Denali

See that Tweet above? That's Republican Party sweetheart Sarah Palin letting the world know about her plans to climb the Sweettooth, a spur of Denali, with her husband Todd and 16-year-old daughter Willow. The ambitious adventure is part of her planned Discovery Channel series, Sarah Palin's Alaska. Impressive, no?

There's only one problem: "Sweettooth" doesn't exist on Denali. She might mean "Sugartooth," but even then, climbers who know the area are scratching their heads. "Sugartooth" is a multi-day, highly technical climb on sheer rock; despite Palin's ability to scale the ranks of Republican leadership, it's unlikely she's got the skills to send a "5.10b/c with short sections of A2, 16 pitches," according to

The Alaskan outdoor blogosphere is understandably taking Palin to task for 1) claiming to be an Alaskan mountain woman without even knowing the names of the places she's going, and 2) exploiting their state in a selfish bid for spotlight. Some speculate she'll fly in to the Ruth Glacier, take photos and go home. "Sweettooth = name of ridge you got wrong while trying to sound like a mountain woman," went one criticism.

But who are we to judge? Check out the following footage from ace climbers Zack Smith and Renan Ozturk, who won a McNeill-Nott Award for the third ascent for the "Sugar Tooth" (scroll to 2:32):

BD athlete Renan Ozturk and Zack Smith in Alaska's Ruth Gorge from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

I don't know—looks pretty straightforward to me. What do you think?

—Ted Alvarez

via The Mudflats


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Lake District Walks
Jul 01, 2011

I run a walking website here in the Lake District National Park in the UK and I was out recently walking the <a href=>Fairfield Horseshoe</a> near the picturesque and world famous village of Grasmere which was the home to William Wordsworth (The poet) when I met 3 walkers obviously out for the day when they advised me that we where atop of Helvellyn (3rd highest mountain in England). It was not until I retreived my map and pointed some 4 miles yonder that the larger mountain in the distance was actually the mountain they thought they had summitted !!! It all beggars belief to me, politicians, people who go outdoors walking and hiking and do not actually know what there doing or where there going. A bit like life really!!

Rick in Vic
Nov 29, 2010

Sarah did Michio Point. Just exposing climbing to the masses should be lauded.

C'mon, Really
Aug 10, 2010

Yawn. This chick's always been a fake. All about the contest' never about the job. Hell, she lives on Lake Wasilla, about 3 minutes from the suburban strip mall that is downtown Wasilla, (known locally as "The Armpit of Alaska") yet she acts like she's Jack London reincarnated. Even Alaskans no longer like her because she quit on them after only 1.5 years of ignoring her office. The most popular bumper sticker I saw up there last year was "Tina Fey for Governor." For your information, she and her small but fanatical band of Alaska separatist droolers HATE anyone who lives outside The Last Frontier (tm). They think 'Outsiders' (meaning you) are all some sort of pampered metrosexual poodle. Just watch; she won't run for office again. She'll just dangle the possibility so she can sell more books, make a killing on public appearances, and never have to deal with the actual difficulties of an actual job. If Mark "Survivor" Burnett is actually honest in his so-called reality series 'Sarah Palin's Alaska,' and doesn't edit her negative comments out, that Alaska chauvinism will become readily apparent during the show. My prediction? Fat chance; he'll filter it.

She didn't make an error; she just made one more in a long line of exaggerations trying to show herself as a rough, tough wilderness queen who would appeal to 'real Americans'. Unfortunately this works on the dumb. (See also fake cowboys Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Louis L'Amour, and John "Marion Morrison the WWII draft dodger" Wayne.)

If teabaggers can't handle the fact that she's a serial liar who downtalks everyone and is pathetically unqualified for any public office whatsoever - conservative or liberal - then, well...As conservative British icon Winston Churchill once noted: "One of the best arguments against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." And so it continues.

Aug 08, 2010

I agree with others in that just posting this story shows a lack of professionalism on's part. If you hate Palin, fine, but why are you bashing her on a outdoors blog? We don't care about your politics.

Aug 04, 2010

I agree with a number of readers.this commentary is just exposing claims that can't either be corroborated or independently verified and of dubious veracity. Bragging should be only done whenever justified. We dislike it whether it is Al Gore claiming to invent the internet or Sarah Palin claiming to do a 5.10b/c multipitch on Denali. She for sure will not be accepted in Mensa! Keep blogging and exposing hypocrissy my friend!

Jul 30, 2010

I like how a majority of the comments are a political argument when the article above merely states what Sarah Palin herself is doing, and is hardly related to politics. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm just going to laugh at her because she herself is an idiot.

Jul 30, 2010

Thank you for exposing yet again Palin for the fake that she is. I doubt she has ever hiked off the trail at Denali and may have never even set foot on the national park.

Jul 29, 2010

Why don't you write about the mistakes the lefties have done or is it ALWAYS right to blast the right wing? Clearly an issue of bias. Shame on you for your lack of Maturity in a well thought of magazine. I would cancel too but that would just show my imaturity!!!!!!!!!!!! You will reap what you sow, so be careful............

Jul 29, 2010

Why don't you write about the mistakes the lefties have done or is it ALWAYS right to blast the right wing? Clearly an issue of bias. Shame on you for your lack of Maturity in a well thought of magazine. I would cancel too but that would just show my imaturity!!!!!!!!!!!! You will reap what you sow, so be careful............

Jul 29, 2010

Jaime in Colorado
Jul 29, 2010

Oh come on, if you're going to support her, you better have a good sense of humor! And you're kidding yourself to say that politics have nothing to do with backpacking and the outdoors. It's the bad politics that open up road-less areas to oil/gas drilling, destroying habitat in those prestine areas you love to get away to. And that encourage continued over use of fossil fuels, instead of renewable energy, which pollutes our air and water and is forever changing the face of our natural world. I sure would like my grandchildren to know and love the backcountry paradise that I have enjoyed; to know exactly what fresh air smells like, taste the refreshing chill of a (filtered) drink from a mountain stream, and know what sound the wind makes when it blows through aspen leaves. To make that happen, I'm sure not going to support someone that chants, "Drill, baby, drill!", especially when they turn around and try to pass themself off as a nature lover to gain political ground.

Jul 29, 2010

Get a grip folks........I'm definately NOT a Palin backer but it's a free country and she can hike where she she made a name error. The real humor is in the puckered folks that demand things to be written their way or they will "cancel their subscription" Ooooooh, that'll fix those left leaning folks at Backpacker!! And being a magzazine editor used to be sooooo easy wasn't it?

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