This is a tale of two Tails: the Whale’s Tail – which is the ridge between the Ruth Glacier and Tokositna Glacier and features a classic ski trip where one traverses the Tokosha Mountains (Tokosha is a Tanaina word meaning “the place where there are no trees”) with breathtaking views of glaciers beneath your feet, […]  [ Read More ]
These are photos and notes from a float down the North Fork of the Koyukuk in Gates of the Arctic National Park –  a Wild and Scenic river that is entirely within Gates of the Arctic National Park.  The standard section of this float is to fly into a gravel bar just downstream from the […]  [ Read More ]
January 2021, Tincan Creek Temps were in the single digits when we started out, moisture from our breath condensing around glasses and hats and the crunch of the snow startling in the still morning air. We skied in large puffy jackets, heads down, not talking – concentrating on flexing the fingers that took too long […]  [ Read More ]
Bounty Peak (6,810’) lies at the very head of the East Fork of the Eklutna River and the ridgeline that makes up the peak forms the boundary between the Eklutna drainage, where water flows into Eklutna Lake / Eklutna River, and the Whiteout Glacier basin where water drains directly into the Knik.  The peak is […]  [ Read More ]
Moonlight Mountain (6270’) and White Lice (6650’+) lie near the eastern edge of Chugach State park on the Eklutna Glacier – Moonlight Peak being the peak that lies just off the West Fork the summit just above a hanging valley that is on the southern flanks of Bellicose.  The glacier on the north side of […]  [ Read More ]
Bellicose Peak (7,640’) is the third highest peak in Chugach State Park, and by most accounts, the hardest to climb due to fickle conditions that only seem to materialize a few weeks each year.  The peak was first climbed in 1963 by John and William Bousman, who proposed the name Bellicose, “Due to its not […]  [ Read More ]
Fold up your Imus Geographic Chugach State Park map and the peak nearest the exact center is Compass Butte – a “fugitive nunatak… escaping from the icy clutches of the Organ Glacier which surrounds all sides of this peak except the north” (Tim Kelley, November 1994, Scree). Compared to surrounding peaks like Polar Bear, Organ, […]  [ Read More ]
West Kiliak and Nantina Point lie 4 miles south of the Nature Center.  With Yukla they make up the 5000’+ cirque around Icicle Glacier and the walls facing northwest loom above as you trek up valley.  While both peaks have relatively moderate routes to the summit, neither are particularly accessible due to thick brush and […]  [ Read More ]
Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons, the canyons of the lower Green River, evoke stories.  The ancestral Puebloan and Fremont people, who made their homes along the river, painted and carved their stories on walls just above the waters edge and on boulders overlooking valleys below.  Utes, Navajos and Paiutes followed and added to the stories, turning […]  [ Read More ]
Baleful Peak (7,990′) lies in the southeast corner of the Bold / Bashful / Baleful massif that sits tucked between the East Fork of the Eklutna and the headwaters and glacier of the West Fork of Hunter Creek.  The summit is a sharp buttress that juts sharply 1000’ above the surrounding ridgelines and Rod Wilson […]  [ Read More ]
Peril Peak (7,040’) is the peak that forms the boundary between the West and main branches of the Ekultna glacier.  It is a dramatic peak rising 2,500’ above the surrounding glacier with the East Face being one of the larger and steeper walls of the Western Chugach.  Draw a polygon around the peak and the […]  [ Read More ]
Magpie Peak (5,812’) lies hidden in a southern pocket of Chugach State Park just due west of the Crow Pass Trail and tucked between Raggedtop and Crow. It is generally is overlooked due to its proximity to other Crow Pass peaks, lack of easy access and especially rotten rock. There is no easy route to […]  [ Read More ]
We pooled permits with a number of families and came away empty.  The backup plan was the John Day River which, as of 2019, was not permitted (note – starting 2020 permits are required).  Coordination with my brother, raft rental from Service Creek Resort, permits from BLM, several hundred pounds of gear packed into duffle […]  [ Read More ]
In late April 2019, Todd Kelsey, Joe Chmielowski and I skied from the Eagle Glacier to the Nature Center (ERNC). It was a great ski trip through familiar terrain that felt foreign when covered in snow.  All together it was 50 miles of travel (38 miles on skis) with 11K of elevation gain/loss. We took […]  [ Read More ]
November 2019 Update In November 2019 DNR approved this permit. You can read the entire permit here and an ADN article about the approval here. It should come at no surprise that DNR permitted this.  DNR has a history of siding with motorized users and commercial operations in the Mat-Su area.  During the Knik River […]  [ Read More ]
EDIT 8/30/2020 – Please read this post about access to Ram Valley. Pleasant Mountain lies near the head of Ram valley and is the peak just due north of Bombardment Pass. It was first climbed in June 1960 by Norm Pischler, Louis Willard and Erma Duncan (route unknown) who named the peak claiming that the […]  [ Read More ]
North Suicide lies at the head of Rabbit Valley and is one of my favorite after-work jaunts in the mid-summer when sunlight lingers until 11pm.  You can leave the trailhead late afternoon, bike to Rabbit, hike up both North and South Suicide and be back in time for dinner. Elsewhere I’ve written up route details […]  [ Read More ]
Boisterous Peak (6,865’) sits on the ridge between Bold and Bashful and is often-overlooked due to its proximity to those peaks. However the peak is an exciting scramble and the various routes to the summit are such that one can find a route that is in shape for much of the year. Likewise the Northeast […]  [ Read More ]
By a stroke of luck I happened upon a full 3 free days over Labor Day Weekend.  With dry conditions I opted to head back into Eklutna in the hopes of climbing a couple of peaks above the glacier.  Joe Chmielowski was reeling from working too much at his new job and a single text […]  [ Read More ]
These are notes from climbing Nest Peak, Bird Peak and Peak 1445.  I climbed Bird in June 2001, Nest and Bird in August 2018 and 1445 in August 2018 and after multiple trips back there I figured I’d share my notes on access to the area. All of these peaks are fun hikes with minimal […]  [ Read More ]
Peters Peak sits on the ridgeline south of Rumble and west of Bellicose.  Dwarfed by these two peaks it is easily overlooked, however the Northwest Ridge features a wonderful airy Class 4 ridge-walk. Getting to the base of the peak takes the better part of a day and the remoteness combined with the short technical […]  [ Read More ]
A period of perfect weather in late July and a flurry of texts rounded up Eric Parsons and Lee Helzer for a weekend trip into the Blued Eyed Lake region in Chugach State Park. As is often the case with last minutes planning no one could leave at the same time / stay the same […]  [ Read More ]
Summer 2018 found us planning another Yukon River float.   We had floated a section in Canada the previous summer so we opted to float Eagle to Circle – a 150 mile remote section, much of it Yukon Charley National Preserve. Joining us were Bryn Clark, Louis Sass and Aven, who had previously floated this section […]  [ Read More ]
These are photos from an October 2017 raft trip through Desolation and Gray Canyons on the Green River. I’ve wrote up a pretty lengthy post about this trip in October 2016, so I’ll limit this to mostly a photo essay. Todd Kelsey scored another cancellation permit for Desolation / Gray and put together another team […]  [ Read More ]
Photos from 5 days in Boston Basin in the North Cascades with ascents of Forbidden Peak (West Ridge), Sahale Mountain (Quien Sabe Glacier) & Mt. Torment (South Ridge).  [ Read More ]
These photos are from two trips a year apart, however given the proximity of the peaks I feel it makes sense to present both peaks together. Yvonne and I climbed Organ in July 2016 and I climbed Synthesizer with Todd Kelsey in July 2017.  [ Read More ]
10 sunny days and 1 day of rain. Temps reached into the 80s, forest fires built on the horizon and an orange haze filled the river valley and on our only rainy day the rainwater tasted like smoke. Our camps ranged from classic Yukon river wooded camps where travelers have beat down dirt platforms near old log cabins, to large open islands with cobblestone beaches and back channels of stagnant warm water and mud that invited children to shed clothes and bathe.  [ Read More ]
The North Ridge starts with a grassy ridge which you follow for almost a mile / 1500' until you reach point 4120. You then veer out onto a large bench on the west side of the peak which you traverse for 3/4 of a mile until again gaining the North ridge proper. Once back on the North Ridge the route starts getting more exposed and you must traverse back and forth on either side of the peak piecing together snow ramps, scree gullies and sheep trails.  [ Read More ]
With a season of river trips in the works we packed up the boat for a shakedown weekend run down the Upper Kenai. The 2017 fishing season had officially opened a few days prior, but the first few days typically are slow fishing and it was nice to have the river mostly to ourselves from Kenai Lake to Sportsman. From Sportsman's to Jim's we encountered several boats and the usual throng of people at the Russian River. Not even bothering to pull out the rods we pushed downriver stopping only occasionally to stretch the legs.  [ Read More ]
These photos are from a 5-day ski mountaineering trip on the Finch and Eagle glaciers in the Western Chugach / Chugach State Park. This exact Chugach State Park trip has been done by a few other parties so logistics have been dialed in which makes for easy planning. Basically, you charter an Alpine Air helicopter drop to the Chugach State Park boundary (no landings allowed in the park) on the Finch Glacier and then work your way back via the Finch / Eagle col to MCA hut on the Eagle (Rosie’s Roost) and then out to Crow Pass via either Raven Headwall or Goat Ridge.  [ Read More ]
A spectacular peak from all directions, Rook Mountain lies North and 2000' above Raven Glacier. There is no easy route to the summit which makes it a worthy objective that you must plan for in terms of weather, conditions and route. It's a mountain I've been staring at for 10+ years waiting for the right combination of good snow conditions and solid partners and I've spent many a day walking or skiing past, looking up and waiting.  [ Read More ]
I've been here over 20 years but I had never taken the time to walk from the South Fork Eagle River to Glen Alps. This September I packed an overnight bag and trekked to Glen Alps via a route past Concerto / Tailfeater / The Sail / Ship Pass. Six months later I skied from South Fork to Hilltop via Hunter Pass / Williwaw-Koktoya Col / Middle Fork. Two great trips.  [ Read More ]
This is a photo dump from a recent trip down Desolation and Gray Canyons on the Green River. 10 of us flew down from Anchorage and spent a week on the river. We had 6 adults and 4 kids ages 3-6. We crowded into 2 16' rafts and brought a packraft as an extra boat. We had perfect weather (7 days of 70 degree sun) and low flows (3000cfs) which meant the majority of the rapids were mere ripples (but also meant that travel was slow).  [ Read More ]
For the 4th of July we packed up the kids, rafts and dogs and headed north to Talkeetna to float the Susitna River from Gold Creek to Talkeetna. This stretch of river is 40 miles of mellow class I with nice gravel bars and islands for camping and an easy take out that’s within 1 mile of where you leave your vehicle. The best part? You approach by train. And not just any train – but the last true flag-stop train in America.  [ Read More ]
Photos from a week of climbing in the North Cascades with ascent of the Sulphide Glacier on Mt. Shuksan and the North Ridge of Mt. Baker.  [ Read More ]
Photos and notes from a 5 day kid float down Meander Canyon - the mellow 51 mile stretch of the Colorado River from Potash to Spanish Bottom.  [ Read More ]
The peaks above Crow Pass are perfect hikes for the shorter and cooler days of late summer. Fall colors, berries and zero bushwhacking make these fun mellow day trips. They're perfect easy sneaker hikes before the snow flies - and fun scrambles after snow coats the slick sharp rocks along the ridge. Below are some notes and photos from 3 early fall days of scrambling around these peaks.  [ Read More ]
The Southwest face of Triplemint begins with a rock gully that leads to a grass sidewalk. From this point on it's a series of grass sidewalks connected by short 3rd class sections of rock. Exposed, but never difficult, the grass sidewalks require a certain level of trust as we tiptoe across mud, tundra and lichen to short sections of solid, but wet, rock.  [ Read More ]
Our route first climbed to Albino Lake where we set up our tents near the lakeshore. West of camp was an easy route up the south ridge of Lonesome Mountain (11,399') and we spent a layover day taking turns hiking up the south ridge for a great view of the high lakes region. We followed this up with a short move over a pass to Jasper Lake where we camped in-between Jasper and Golden lakes and scrambled up the south ridge of Spirit Mountain (12,283').  [ Read More ]
Mid June and the forecast called for 2 days of perfect weather so Eric and I planned a business retreat and headed out to climb Vertigo and Soggy and talk about website redesign. We left town mid morning, were at Twin Falls by 3 and finally at the 3500′ rock campsite at the base of […]  [ Read More ]