Palin criticized for 'Sweettooth' McKinley reference

A little-noticed tweet from Sarah Palin is getting new attention after backpacking blogs pointed out that Sweettooth — the peak Palin said she'd be climbing — does not exist.

The tweet, posted July 14, read:

Todd,Willow & I head to Denali to climb Sweettooth=tiny sliver of Mt.McKinley, No.America's highest peak;cool air &elevation=good 4 the soul

Denali refers to Denali National Park, home of Mount McKinley. Alaskan outdoor and political bloggers balked at the reference to "Sweettooth," however, which they noted is not a known feature of McKinley.

"Sweettooth = name of ridge you got wrong while trying to sound like a mountain woman," noted one.

Palin might have been talking about Sugartooth, writes Ted Alvarez at Backpacker, adding that even so, the climb would be "multi-day and highly-technical … on sheer rock."

The only reference to a "Sweettooth" in Denali is found in another outdoor blog post, detailing a 2007 trek made up Sugartooth by seasoned Anchorage climbers Peter Haeussler and Jay Rowe. The terrain rated between 5.6 — available hand and footholds, accessible to experienced climbers — and 5.10, or "no holds." 

In his account, Rowe describes a small pinnacle on a ridge of McKinley, reached after a two-day approach up vertical rock faces, that the two men named "Sweet Tooth Spire."

"Our approach … involved a fall into a water-filled crevasse and a spooky climb over Espresso Gap. On the third day, the weather cleared, and we were treated to full on views of the 3,000-foot rock buttress," Rowe wrote. 

A Sugartooth climb (photos courtesy of Jay Rowe, Alpinist.com):

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