On Saturday June 4th 2005 Yvonne, Carrie and I hiked up Penguin Peak. The trail up was in good shape so we cruised up in sneakers. We had killer views and weather! There was a little bit of snow to traverse and some big cornices that the dogs had to test by running across them. (What is it with dogs and cornices?) After about three hours we were on the summit! ( Read more... )
On March 27th Yvonne and I climbed the E. face / East couloir of Indianhouse Peak. The route was very straightforward and fun. It began with a nice hike that was free of snow up through the brush on faint game trails until we reached a bump on the south ridge at around 3000'. We then traversed the entire East face until we reached the prominent couloir you can see from the highway.
Traversing the snow slopes was slow going due to deep rotten snow. We had hoped to be across them before it was too hot but the rotten snow slowed our progress and we ended up traversing them at 11am - which is about the worst time to be on an east facing slope in March.
After we reached the couloir, the snow was much more compact and we made quick progress upwards. About 100' from the top of the couloir, the couloir splits. We took the right branch and followed steep (up to 45 degrees) snow up to the summit ridge. After that it was a simple walk (in deep snow) to the summit.
To descend we opted to take the couloir all the way to the base. It is key to aim for the large spruce left of the couloir as you near the base. We ended up going too far down the couloir and ran into open water. We had to backtrack through deep snow and alders to reach the spruce. From there it was a simple walk down through the woods until we reached an old road which dumped us out right next to Indian Valley meats.
The route took us just under 10 hours to complete. It was an excellent route and made for a fun spring climb! ( Read more... )
On August 27th Yvonne and I drove south down to Bird Ridge where we began heading up the trail at noon with Ranger in tow. We made quick progress although our legs were quite stiff after having taken so much time off from hiking due to the almost constant rain Anchorage had experienced since late July.
At 1:30 we reached the top of the Bird Ridge trail and began to traverse the ridge that heads east towards Bird Ridge Overlook (4,600'), the peak that sits at the end of the ridge.
The hike is a total of 12 miles round trip; 3 miles to the top of Bird Ridge and then another 3 miles to Bird Ridge Overlook. After ascending Bird Ridge, we dropped down about 300 feet and then began a long rising and falling traverse to Bird Ridge Overlook. Hiking was easy and straightforward with an excellent well traveled sheep trail just below the ridge crest that kept us on more or less a level plain as we traversed the ridges. ( Read more... )
Nights like this are why we all love this place we call home. ( Read more... )
Peter above the Arm
Sun, snow and stability continues to linger in Southcentral Alaska, so we chose a steep up-track that we normally wouldn’t touch due to exposure from above. We tromped up the steep tree covered ridge topping out on a sharp ridgeline 3000’ above the Arm. Then across the subpeak searching for powder until finally having to remove skis and downclimb 500’ of rock and tundra to a protected bowl with boot deep powder. ( 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... )
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... )
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.
It was the winter of '98 and I had already been in Alaska for two years when I finally decided it was time to learn to ski. I bought skis, boots, bindings - the whole package - and I started the weekend pilgrimage to Turnagain Pass. 15+ years ago the Pass was a different place. There were all of 30 skiers who frequented the place and everyone knew everyone. I started showing up and within a few weeks the long time cadre of local skiers took me under their collective wings. ( Read more... )
Suicide Tour! From the Indian trailhead up Powerline trail to the east slopes of Homicide. Across to the base of the NE couloir of North Suicide. Up the NE couloir to the top of North Suicide, down to Windy Gap, up South Suicide, down Falls Creek and a hitchhike down the Seward highway.
Steep snow, some rock, lots of choss and lots of scree slogging. ( Read more... )
Notes and photos from Penguin Ridge. ( Read more... )