REGION: Chugach Range

ACTIVITY: Ice Climbing


Posted in Chugach Range & Ice Climbing Tags: anchorage-classics, portage  

I worked all last weekend – so when a sunny day and an ice climbing partner presented themselves mid-week I jumped on the opportunity.  Wayne and I drove down to Portage and found an unoccupied Follies with an easy creek crossing to the base. Follies is a well known local classic that sometimes has an abysmal approach.  For the most part the ice across the creek tends to be pretty thin – and I guess lots of people have had mini-epics when falling through the ice or having the wade across in fishing waders.  We lucked out… the creek was frozen solid and we walked across and were at the base in minutes.

I got the first pitch; a mellow ramp up to a protected alcove behind a rock.  Wayne got the second pitch – 100' of steepish ice to the anchors.   At the top it was so sunny and comfortable that we hung out for 30 minutes enjoying the sun and views.  A fun outing on a very enjoyable route!

Afterwards we climbed an in-descript route just (climbers) right of Follies.  It was characterized by 100' of easy ice though thick alders and devil’s club to a 100' ramp with 30' of steep ice.  Bush whacking up through alders and devil’s club with crampons and ice tools was a new experience for me.  The rap down consisted of battling thick brush and getting everything from pack and ice tools stuck on tree limbs.  I don’t recommend this route.

Follies as seen from Portage Creek.

Wayne on the second pitch.

Me following. Photo by Wayne Todd.

Follies gets climbed pretty often these days so here's something to consider: the anchors on are totally crummy. They're a mass of webbing wrapped around a slowly decaying alder held together by frozen dirt.

If you're civic minded 3 pitons sunk into the crack just left of the alders would make for a bomb anchor. The upper crack would take a medium angle or nut (or both) - the lower crack a piton or knife-blade (or both).

  •  Follies in the late morning sun.
  •  First pitch is pretty mellow.  Me on the right side.
  •  Wayne topping out on Pitch 1.
  •  Wayne heading out on pitch 2 of Follies.
  •  Half way up the second pitch of Follies.
  •  Nearing the top.
  •  Nearing the top.
  •  Me following.  Photo by Wayne Todd.
  •  Me following.  Photo by Wayne Todd.
  •  More anchors of mank.
  •  Wayne headed down.  The road shows how hard the approach is for this one.
  •  Wayne headed down.
  •  Me rapping down.  Photo by Wayne Todd.

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