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... )

Foraker (abort) Denali (attempt)
Trip Date: 05/10/11 - 05/25/11   Posted in Alaska Range & Mountaineering    Tags: accidents, kahiltna  

A short lived Foraker attempt and a foul weather trip up to 17 camp on the West Buttress. (Next year I'm going sport climbing.)   ( Read more... )

An afternoon on the West Ridge of Pinnacle.   ( Read more... )

This past weekend I was encouraged by the high numbers of bikers and hikers heading down the trail at Chitina. Perhaps a third of the users were hikers and bikers… and while ATV users still rule, the growth of bikers over the past five years is a trend that I’d like to see continue. And so while I am conflicted on giving away techniques on how to successfully fill your freezer from a bike the truth is the ATV crowd has no qualms giving away tips so I might as well contribute my $.02.

Let me first say that if there was ever a place for ATV usage then it’s the O'Brien Creek road. If there were ever a need for ATV usage then it would be to carry coolers full of fish back to your truck. And if there were ever a demographic where ATV usage was justified it would be for the elder users who cannot make it back to the fishing spots utilizing a bike or hiking. Furthermore - the majority of the ATV users you meet on the trail and friendly and respect the fishery and the river.

That said - the majority of the ATV crowd are men in their mid 30s and early 40s who are just too lazy to walk back and forth with their fish. I can’t really say I blame them for not wanting to carry 200 lbs of fish out on their backs - but with the lazy users come a small but impactful population of users who routinely leave trash, shit wherever they please, build huge campfires and chop down trees on a whim. And within the ATV demographic there is always a small group of 20-something drivers who hate hikers and bikers and will make it known to you that you’re not welcome by driving fast and running you off the trail.

Thus this post is all about encouraging bikers and hikers to head into Chitina. With more bikers and hikers on the Chitina trail, ATV users will be forced to drive a little slower and deal with a user group that doesn’t fall into the "drive fast and kill ‘em all" AK lifestyle. Hopefully with increased non-motorized usage the dipnetting experience will revert to respecting the river and working hard to harvest your fish - and less about driving fast, shooting guns and drinking beer.

And with that said on to how to dipnet with a bike… Everyone has their own method - some of those methods work, some don’t. Here's my take...   ( Read more... )

Up south Suicide with two hot dogs on a lazy afternoon and the Northwest Ridge of Indianhouse catches my eye. A day later I'm back with a rope, rack and partner for nice long ramble across gendarmes and sidewalks on a perfect Memorial Day.
[ Northwest Ridge of Indianhouse ]

Rescue Me
Posted in Alaska Range    Tags: accidents  

We just spent 16 days in the Alaska Range - 13 of those days were on Denali's West Buttress - and during that time period there were a total of 4 deaths. The day after we flew out 2 more deaths occurred at high camp. (Click here to read Mike Campbell's article profiling the accidents.)

The rash of deaths after a long quiet winter can only mean one thing: It’s climbing season in the Alaska Range. Unfortunately "climbing season" also means "rescue season" and this year is off to a bad start. And with rescue season comes the inevitable "who’s going to pay for this" argument on countless blogs, op-ed pages and comment sections nation-wide. Given our current political climate where tea party members happily gloat about gutting public programs while patriotically adding funds to our bloated defense budget I think it’s pertinent that I post some links to rescue studies.   ( Read more... )

The Mooses Tooth (peak on left) as seen from the summit of Mt. Dickey. Ham & Eggs takes the narrow couloir just left of the summit.

The North face of the Mooses Tooth as seen from the summit of Explorer Peak.

Lots of news and commentary has been published recently in regards to the recent accident on the Root Canal Glacier. In short, Christopher Lackey, a young man from Houston Texas, was camped on the Root Glacier hoping to climb Ham & Eggs on the South face of the Mooses Tooth. KTNA (Talkeetna Public Radio) reports that sometime during the night a small earthquake triggered serac fall on the hanging glaciers that cling to the Eye Tooth / Bear Tooth ridge just above camp. Apparently the icefall was immense and debris poured onto the glacier and obliterated the entire camp. Only Mr. Lackey was killed - the other 3 climbers somehow escaped.   ( Read more... )

Mt. Crosson - Southeast Ridge
Trip Date: 05/10/02 - 05/12/02   Posted in Alaska Range & Mountaineering    Tags: kahiltna  
Pictures from a May 2002 ascent of the Southeast Ridge of Mt. Crosson.
[ Click here for photos. ]

Bench Peak - North Face
Posted in Kenai Range & Skiing    Tags: non-motorized, turnagain  

We set off to climb and ski Bench Peak. We knew there were tracks on the run we wanted to ski. But we knew of only 4 sets of tracks - and when those tracks are made by ubiquitous local skier "Eric the Viking" and his crew, and those tracks mean you don't have to route find through the wilds of Center and Divide Creeks, then you can forgive the 4 sets. Besides, following Viking and his crew's tracks down a Turnagain area run is kind of a given. If it's good and it will go, chances are Viking has already skied it that week.   ( Read more... )

Matanuska Peak
Trip Date: 04/15/11 - 04/16/11   Posted in Chugach Range & Skiing   

Fun weekend outing to Frontier Peak that actually turned out to be Matanuska Peak. More text and pix after the jump.   ( Read more... )

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