Well... 2006 marks my 10th summer and 7th year in Alaska. I've spent many of summer climbing, hiking, rafting and finally rediscovered the joys of fishing. However - until Monday I had never been dipnetting.
Dipnetting refers to the harvesting method where you stick a huge net into the water and scoop out fish. You can dipnet for reds, pinks and silvers. You are only allowed to dipnet one king per year. We went for reds - the harvest limit being 40 reds per household. There were 5 of us - Myself, Scott Hauser, Rachael Steer (Scott's sister-in-law), Zach Steer (Scott's brother in law) and Jack - who works for Zach at Zach's lodge.
So we loaded up - Scott, Rachael and I first driving to Sheep Mountain Lodge (about 2 1/2 hours form Anchorage) where we met Zach and Jack (Zach is the owner). Then we drove the additional 2 hours to Chitina which is on the West side of the Copper River.
In Chitna we dumped the trucks along a dirt road and transferred everything to 4-wheelers. In Alaska any true bush adventure always involves some sort of hairball transportation. In our case it was a 4-wheeler, an oversized trailer and a bunch of heavy coolers full of the essential dipnetting supplies (ice, jackets, snacks and beer). ( Read more... )
For an end of summer trip Scott and Becky Hauser invited us out on their parents sailboat - the 42' Contagious. On friday Scott, Becky, Becky's sister Rachel, Yvonne and I drove to Whittier on Friday night and spent the night on the boat in typical Whittier weather - hard driving cold rain. We fully expected a miserable wet weekend. However - we awoke the next morning to a beautiful fall morning with crisp clear skies.
By 10am we pulled out of the Whittier harbor and were sailing east along passage canal. Whittier is tucked in at the far western end of Passage Canal. For the most part the winds do not pick up very often - which means you have to motor quite a ways before you can break out the sails. ( Read more... )
After our trip into the Ruth Gorge Jeff young flew back to Anchorage while Brad and I flew to the Kahiltna and started up the West Buttress of Denali. The following are entries from my journal from May 30th - June 6th. ( Read more... )
While we were in the Tetons in 2001 my old college roommate and climbing partner David West, drive up from Evergreen, Colorado to join me for a climb. We opted for a moderate day route and went and climbed the SW Ridge of Symmetry Spire. The route was straight forward and fun with awesome views of Owen and the Grand. We topped out and were back down to Jenny Lake in about 6 hours RT. ( Read more... )
For a final mountaineering adventure for the summer of 2001, Brad and I enlisted Jeb Tilly for an ascent of Mt. Moran via the CMC Route (III, 5.6). Mt. Moran is a rather isolated peak in Teton National Park and can only be reached via a canoe ride across Leigh Lake. So we rented a canoe and one afternoon paddled across to the peak where we hiked up to "CMC camp".
We made camp on a nice sandy ledge and the next morning got up at 6 am and worked our way up 3rd class boulders to a perch on top of "Drizzlepuss" - a spire of rock that sits above the actual CMC route. From the spire we rapped 150' down to a col where we regrouped and actually began the climb.
The climb is very straight forward: you ascend 5-6 pitches of moderate excellent compact rock on a giant slab above the Falling Ice Glacier and to the left of the Black Dike - a huge geological formation you can see for miles in all directions. ( Read more... )
In the summer of 2001 Brad Hornung and I traveled and climbed for 2 months in Alaska and Canada. After freezing in Alaska and scaring our wits out in Canada we opted to head south to the Tetons to climb warm alpine rock. Along the way we picked up Brad's sister, Christina, in Calgary and then headed south to Jackson where we met up with my brother John and his oldest son, Matthew, who was 13 at the time. ( Read more... )
On July 9th 2006 I took my brother and nephew up Ptarmigan Couloir. My nephew had never climbed a snow route before (and never even worn crampons!). My brother had done a few moderate snow routes but had never used two ice axes or pickets. They were both pretty stoked! ( Read more... )
On Saturday April 16th, 2005 Yvonne & I drove south to Whittier, a small down that is accessible only via a 3 mile tunnel. The town sits just above Prince William Sound and, although the town itself is ugly - the area is magnificent. We parked just parked just outside the town, ski toured up and over Portage Pass; around Portage Lake, then up the Burns Glacier - then down the Whittier glacier. It was a 12 mile traverse in a very remote wild area where few people seldom go. For the most part it was a mellow tour on a rare calm warm day (it's usually raining, snowing or blowing in that region). All was smooth although we had some excitement getting off the glacier. ( Read more... )
Saturday, October 17th, 2005 was our first time out on skis since the previous April. There is powder north of Anchorage - but instead we opted for a traverse since we still have a little bit of light. So on Sunday we rounded up a group of friends and drove south to Girdwood where we hiked up the Crow Pass trail and dropped over onto the Milk Glacier via the pass between Barnes Mountain and Jewel Mountain. We then skied up the Milk Glacier and down the Raven Glacier - finally reaching the trail just as it got dark.
From July 17th - 20th Yvonne and I and 7 friends and family hiked the Grizzly Lakes Traverse in Chugach State Park. We started at Crow Pass, went up Clear Creek and over Steamroller Pass, camped at Archangel Lakes, then went over to Grizzly Lakes, then down Camp Creek to Eagle River and then back to Crow Pass. There were a total of 9 of us - and the fitness level ranged from excellent to "Oh my god I'm going to die". Along the way we climbed Kinglet and Pyramid Peaks. Below are pictures from the trip. ( Read more... )