I worked all last weekend – so when a sunny day and an ice climbing partner presented themselves mid-week I jumped on the opportunity. Wayne and I drove down to Portage and found an unoccupied Follies with an easy creek crossing to the base. Follies is a well known local classic that sometimes has an abysmal approach. For the most part the ice across the creek tends to be pretty thin – and I guess lots of people have had mini-epics when falling through the ice or having the wade across in fishing waders. We lucked out… the creek was frozen solid and we walked across and were at the base in minutes.
Wayne on the second pitch.
More pix after the jump. ( Read more... )
I go up Peak 3 all the time so I'm usually not inspired to take photos. But yesterday was a beautiful warm afternoon that felt very spring like. Skiing wasn't so great - but if you can ski Peak 3 after work in Feburary then I say the skiing is good. Come on spring! Some choice pix are below.
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... )
On Christmas Eve Eric Parsons and I went down to Turnagain and skied Tincan Proper. This is more or less how it went... ( Read more... )
I love classics… be it rock, ice, ski descents and even the occasional mellow river run. So when I heard that the classic ice routes in Middle Glacier Canyon were fatter than usual we dusted off the ice gear and headed south to give one a try. We hiked into the canyon and checked out all the routes. Most of the routes looked either hard or thin, but Lucky Man looked better than usual.
Lucky Man is a wonderful ice route that is about 300’ tall and was first climbed by Charlie Sassera and Robert Frank in 1982. It usually has a very very thin beginning - after which the route ascends a mellow ramp system to the canyon rim. However this year there is a super easy sneak on climbers left that gets you past the thin horrow-show of verglass and stubby placements down low on the route. ( Read more... )
There is a place south of town where it’s always sunny. Where the sunlight warms a golden bowl even on the darkest days of the year. Where the snow is deep and the runs are steep. Where ribs are scraped clean by expert kid snowboarders and couloirs are filled with discarded sluff from passing skiers. I won’t say where it is… anyone who skis south of town will recognize it – but if you don’t then you’re missing out. It is, as I mentioned, always sunny and the snow is always good. ( Read more... )
When you're married to an over-achiever a lot is expected of you. You have to hold down a decent job, keep the house in order, make sure the dog doesn't do things like bite the mailman or eat porcupines, be a semi-decent provider, provide IT services, know how to troubleshoot a condensing boiler, have basic carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills ... and more. ( 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... )
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.
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... )