Fresh snow and no wind meant conditions were ideal for local powder… so come late morning we headed up to Rabbit Valley and began the trek in. One run off Peak 4 and one run off Peak 2 and we were back home by 2:30pm just in time for afternoon errands.
A beautiful day with some half-way decent conditions for early February Front Range skiing. More pix after the jump. ( Read more... )
Up from Ram Valley to the ridge E of Significant. Up Peak 5320'. Down and up again to the bumb NW of Peeking. Down to Peters Creek. Up to the base of the W. Ridge of Bees Heaven for some sleep. Up the W. Ridge of Bees Heaven then down the East ridge then up the long ridge to Thunderbird Peak. Then down the loooonnng ridge to the spillway across Eklutna Lake. 21 miles, 12K vert. And although Kim Gordon doesn't necessarily conjure images of pastoral Chugach ridge walks - her screams generally keep me going for hours... thus the music.
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... )
As if by magic the rains lifted and the sun rose. We threw our stuff together haphazardly and called around till a dog sitter was found... then jumped in the car and by 8am were hiking up Ram Valley underneath baby blue sky.
The objective was East Kiliak - a seldom visited peak that lies at the head of the Raisin Glacier - a seldom visited glacier that lies at the head of Peter's Creek. Since we had heard the peak was semi-technical we packed a light alpine rack, a basic glacier touring setup and overnight gear. ( Read more... )
In case you don't remember, we had a pretty awful summer this year: 30 days straight of rain and gloomy weather. Climbing plans were pretty much shelved in exchange for boating, fishing and a short quick jaunt up Flattop in-between and during showers.
So when the forecast called for somewhat reasonably clear and sunny skies we opted to hike in and try Temptation Peak. Temptation is one of the 12 5000' peaks in the Chugach Front Range and was the last 5000' Front Range peak left on Yvonne's list (I still have 2 to go).
We packed a water bottle, bear spray, a couple bars and rain jackets and then began the slog up Snow Hawk Valley trail. The Snow Hawk trail has seen better days. At one time it was well cleared and easy walking. It's now the standard Chugach trail – meaning it's all of a foot wide with devil's club and cow parsnip towering over your head. And to add to the excitement every 50 feet you come across a pile of steaming bear dung. ( Read more... )
More pix after the jump... ( Read more... )
Spring… it means something different for everyone. For my mother in Virginia it means peas and corn sprouting after a short winter; for grumpy Anchorites unwilling to venture higher than 1500' it means mud and muck and 22 trips to the car wash to keep that shine. For me it means the annual Chugach migration into valleys and up couloirs I’ve never climbed or skied.
After a long overcast spell a sunny April day appeared and Eric rallied Dan, Pat, Todd and I to Ram Valley where we ventured up and into Falling Water Creek to try Raina’s North Couloir. The beautiful North face of Rainia has 3 striking lines that range in difficultly from (climbers) left to right. The far left (NE) couloir is a long moderately difficult couloir that drops right from the ridge where you top out when climbing the normal route up the South slopes. The middle (N) couloir is a striking direct line that splits the face in two. On the right side of the face is a beautiful thin couloir that is more of a climb then ski and would require a couple roped pitches and some screws / pins (at least for me). ( Read more... )
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... )
Our plan was to climb Flute Peak. Flute Peak sits 10 miles from the South Fork trailhead at the very head of the Flute Glacier. The route consists of a glacier crossing, steep snow and a final rock pitch. There were 3 of us - Eric, Yvonne and I. All of us had tried it once before. Eric had actually made it to the rock pitch last spring before backing off unwilling to solo the final step. Yvonne and I had "tried" it last year; but our efforts had ended early when we ascended the wrong approach gully. We instead hiked up Ewe Peak, not willing to out the effort into additional route finding. Ideally one would climb Flute Peak as an overnight trip - taking time to leisurely hike up to the glacier on day 1 and then climb and hike out on day 2. However - we opted to try it in a day. So in we tromped... me soaking wet and the clouds thick and soupy. ( Read more... )
For years I've been eyeing the couloirs that snake directly up the north face of Bear Point (the wall above Mirror Lake on the Glenn Highway). There are 2 very obvious lines - a direct couloir that drops straight off the summit for almost 3000' and a twisty turny line that ascend though rock bands and tops out just east of the summit. This year the couloirs have been melting out and thin ribbons of ice have been appearing, making them quite appealing! ( Read more... )