"Anchorage is great," they say. "It's only 20 minutes from Alaska." By they I mean the red state rural minority who believe in the Three Ps: the Permanent Fund, Providence and Palin. As much as I hate the saying they have a point. 20 minutes from Spenard, strip clubs and Sams Club you can hit the park and head east for 400 miles before you hit another road. And most of the year I manage to get out of Anchorage and enjoy Alaska on a regular basis, but the fall is different. Fall in Anchorage means foul weather; freezing rain, sun and snow all in the same week. ( Read more... )
These are old pictures from a trip that Yvonne, Eric and I did on September 11-12, 2010. I put up a video a couple years ago but never edited the photos, but since it's been an Eklutna summer I decided to go through them and post some of the better ones. ( Read more... )
Read more for additional pictures and a ridiculously detailed route description. ( Read more... )
...then the fun started. What in May had been a simple skin now required a traverse across a shifting groaning rock glacier. The traverse started with a jog across the Bellicose/Benign gully to a safe-enough zone where we transitioned from sneakers to mountain boots. Then up and across the rock glacier which consisted of glacier ice covered with mud and rock that shifted with every step. It should be mentioned that above the rock glacier is wall of loose rock that is routinely shedding the ubiquitous microwave-sized block... ( Read more... )
With sun and high temps in mind Jake and I set out to try the NW Ridge of Williwaw. We tromped up and over the Ballfield, dropped down next to Williwaw Lake and then trudged up the scree pile that is at the base of the NW Ridge. Then up the steep and exposed NW ridge to the summit of Williwaw.
Every now and then we get that long period of high pressure where everything rocks. The temps are decent, the snow is beautiful, stability is good. Then the winds come and everything goes to hell. Windslab creeps across the ridgetops and where there isn't windslab there's pure ice. Runs look good from afar but once you're in them you start actually thinking about things like home projects and ice climbing.
Ignoring tradition, history and local ethics we vow to rename this route. From henceforth it will be called Thin White Mank. ( Read more... )
My OCD is good for 3 things. It keeps the house free of dog hair, it allows me to slave away for 30 hours on 200 lines of complex code and it can break long meandering conversations into concise bulleted talking points. The latter is a great trait for board meetings that go on for three hours and ski tour conversations that go on for three days. And so after a few tours where we talked about the same things I decided to put together my ski tour talking points. But a disclaimer is needed before anything. I am not a professional. Never have been, never will be. So take this rambling post for what it is... Lessons and notes from some climber and skier who can rehash lessons learned because of luck and not much else. ( Read more... )
Todd exiting Falls Lake Couloir.
Falls Lake couloir looked beautiful and untouched. So up and up the perfect splitter couloir to the ridge. Then down boot deep powder and heavy sluff to the valley floor and sun. ( Read more... )
Photo by Eric Parsons.
Tis the season for post-work couloir skiing. Get up early, work till 3 or 4, ski hard till 7 or 8. Eat, sleep, and repeat. ( Read more... )