Pharaoh Messner: 1997 - 2007
Tags: dogs  

Pharaoh as a puppy in the Talkeetna Mtns. Sometime in the summer of 1997. This is probably my favorite photo of him.

I have lost my best friend and climbing partner. Pharaoh has been with me since May 1997; he came into our lives a squirming ball of fur and grew up by my side accompanying me across the country and back; always in front of me pushing his way through deep snow, scrambling up steep rock and ready for more than I could ever give him.   ( Read more... )

Pyramid Peak
Posted in Kenai Range & Skiing    Tags: dogs, turnagain  

Friday night. I drive past Pyramid Peak in Turnagain Pass looking casually up. I wanted to climb it all winter but my friends are snow snobs; they'd rather ski one run of good powder 5 times than skin up a wind hammered ridge. Now that it's spring they're all out doing spring things - like gardening and river rafting. For some reason I want to get one more ski day in. Looking up at the peak thoughts come and go; "Tomorrow should be an easy day. Almost too easy. I could climb Pyramid and then go ski elsewhere..."

I spend a lazy night next to a campfire watching the moon drift over the Kenai Mountains. Ranger hangs out next to me. He misses his old friend Pharaoh who used to chase him in circles when we camped. I miss him too. That night it freezes and I shiver inside my cheap flannel sleeping bag. Ranger, in his thin coat, shivers so hard he wakes me up so I dig out a jacket and throw it over him.

The alarm sounds at 6:30 am. I sleep till 8. Coffee follows and then I jump into the car and blast to the parking lot where I strap the skis to the pack and start booting uphill. Somewhere in the back of my mind it registers that there is no snow for at least 2000'. It also registers that there is brush for 2000' but I choose to ignore these thoughts.   ( Read more... )

Elliot Peak
Posted in Chugach Range & Trekking    Tags: dogs, frontrange  

Mt. Elliot, located on the ridge east of Wolverine, is one of the few peaks in the front range I hadn't hiked up yet.  So when Yvonne managed to drag me away from fishing for a day we headed out for a nice afternoon jaunt. We brought Ranger and his buddy Lucy (Eric and Julie's dog).

We hiked up and over the ball field, stopping a couple times to talk to friends who were out enjoying the day, and then dropped down past Black Lake to the shores of Williwaw Lake.  We then tromped up a southern gully to the ridge, turned right and scrambled to the summit.    The summit is the farthest bump East of Wolverine which makes it out of the way for a pretty insignificant peak unless you're running out of fresh peaks to climb.   ( Read more... )

McHugh Ridge Walk
Posted in Chugach Range & Skiing    Tags: dogs, frontrange  
A latest start, a 10 minute commute to Rabbit Valley and then a 4 mile ski out to the base the base of Ptarmigan. Across Rabbit Creek, up a slope to gain McHugh's long East Ridge. Then a traverse of the East Ridge to the East Summit. Fun turns off the top of the East Summit and then a 2 mile run that drops 2000' all the way down the long North West bowl to Rabbit Creek. Some early season bush whacking to prepare us for summer and then back to the Rabbit Valley trail and home at a reasonable hour.
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North Suicide
Posted in Chugach Range & Mountaineering    Tags: csp-plan, dogs, frontrange  

We awoke to sun on Saturday so we took a welcomed break from bathroom remodeling and headed up Rabbit Creek for a jaunt up North Suicide. Up the valley, a nice long break at Rabbit Lake so the dog could swim and then up the NW gully to the ridge. On the ridgeline we had one spot of D0 (the dog equivalent of A0) followed by a casual ridgeline to the summit. Back down with spotters for the D0 section, down the long chossy NW gully and then back to the lake for more dog swimming and home at a decent hour.   ( Read more... )

Penguin Peak
Posted in Chugach Range & Trekking    Tags: csp-plan, dogs, turnagainarm  

Nights like this are why we all love this place we call home.   ( Read more... )

Ptarmigan Peak
Posted in Chugach Range & Trekking    Tags: dogs, frontrange  

Another absolutely stellar day in South Central Alaska.   ( Read more... )

Between weather, work and planning for our July trip I did not get out much this past spring. The few times I did get out it was for a quick jaunt up something in the Frontrange... more specifically - for yet another quick hike up Flattop, Peak 2, Peak 3, Peak 4 - or all of the above. At least I made an effort to carry my big camera along the way and focus on taking pictures of our backyard. Click through for more photos.   ( Read more... )

Jewel Mountain
Posted in Chugach Range & Trekking    Tags: dogs  

Beautiful weather and a day on Jewel Mountain.   ( Read more... )