We set out to tour the valley around Pinnacle with the hopes of skiing something interesting. Checking out conditions on the approach we noted two large natural releases that had occurred sometime midweek on the SW face of Marmot and the occasional crown in steeper terrain that appeared to be have either released during or shortly after the most recent storm cycle. Taking the obvious signs into account we then studied the tracks on pretty much every aspect and angle and noted that had minimal releasing other than occasional sluffing.  [ Read More ]
“Anchorage is great,” they say. “It’s only 20 minutes from Alaska.” By they I mean the red state rural minority who believe in the Three Ps: the Permanent Fund, divine Providence and Palin. As much as I hate the saying they have a point. 20 minutes from Spenard, strip clubs and Sams Club you can […]  [ Read More ]
100 years ago getting on the Eklutna Glacier was a total stroll. Ride your pack horse around Eklutna Lake and well before the valley chokes you could get up on the glacier and be tromping up ice with nary a thought about rock fall. Even in the 60s you could still drive around Eklutna Lake […]  [ Read More ]
Bashful Peak is the tallest peak in Chugach State Park. At 8,005′ it towers well above everything around it and provides a pretty awesome view if you’re lucky enough to climb it on a good day. It’s also a day climb – which means you can put in a good 7000′ of elevation gain (plus […]  [ Read More ]
In May 1962 a company of 113 Fort Richardson soldiers were airlifted into the headwaters of Ship Creek where they planned to traverse over a pass and exit out to Campbell Airstrip. The afternoon after being dropped off, they began trekking up and over a pass with the intention of a bivouac in a small […]  [ Read More ]
First a little history: Due to the prominence rule, Icicle Peak was left off the actual list of Chugach high-points… yet it still made the list of 7,000′ peaks. The prominence rule states that a peak isn’t a true peak unless more than 500′ of prominence separates the peak from surrounding peaks. Apparently you couldn’t […]  [ 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 […]  [ Read More ]
Skiing  |  Chugach Range
Apr 20, 2013
I’m a bit of a nomenclature geek. I eat up stories about how peaks and routes got their name. Take Cornbiscuit for example. Whoever came up with that name? Turns out the name came from two people who used to ski it all the time back in the late 80s / early 90s. Two French […]  [ Read More ]
We knew conditions last week were good on the south side, so up Falls Creek mid-morning Friday. The bottom was melted out, so booting until just below treeline. Then a band of rotten isothermal snow (even before the sun had hit the valley floor) until finally solid crust and skins. We toured up valley stopping […]  [ Read More ]
Skiing  |  Chugach Range
Apr 4, 2013
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. And repeat we did. Turnagain on Saturday, Peak 3 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. South side couloirs on Thursday and Friday. 6 days of skiing in a week for a […]  [ Read More ]
Peter above the Arm Amy above the Arm Scott above the Arm Peter & Amy 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 […]  [ Read More ]
Skiing  |  Kenai Range
Mar 13, 2013
Bertha Creek Highway We went south seeking sun, snow and stability. Out the car in fringed temps and up Bertha Creek to Granddaddy, which we knew was in. The north ridge of Granddaddy was wind blasted rime ice with constant 25mph winds beating us as we climbed. Then off the top and down onto the […]  [ Read More ]
Pete & Amy inside the ping pong ball. Sun, snow and stability in Hatcher. Three things that never happen in those mountains north of town that I tend to write off just about every winter. I love Hatcher in the summer- cragging, trekking, crumbling granite ridges – good clean alpine fun. But Hatcher in the […]  [ Read More ]
Ripple. How many times have you climbed it? Once a season? Twice a season? Three times? For the past two years? For the past five years? 10 years? If you’re a southcentral ice climber it’s that route that you do at least once a year. It’s close, it’s always in, and it’s always enjoyable. Beginning […]  [ Read More ]
Everyone is complaining about the snow and the snowpack; both of which have been abysmal this year. We had snow in October followed by a long dry and cold period followed by snow that came in dry and left wet. Which left us with a low snowpack and absolute horrific avalanche conditions. So needless to […]  [ Read More ]
There is nothing like an east coast fall. The changing leaves turn the landscape into a burst of color and the crisp nights are perfect for camping. During the day the temp hovers in the 60s and the rock bakes making it perhaps the best destination in the world for a late October rock climbing […]  [ Read More ]
Beautiful weather made us take a break from home projects and head into the mountains for a day. Into the truck, south on the highway, sharp left turn into Girdwood Valley and a beeline to the Bake Shop – because no visit to Girdwood is complete without contemplation of their famous sticky roles served with […]  [ Read More ]
Between weather, work and planning for our July trip I did not get out much this past spring. The few times I did get out it was for a quick jaunt up something in the Frontrange… more specifically – for yet another quick hike up Flattop, Peak 2, Peak 3, Peak 4 – or all […]  [ Read More ]
Scouring the guidebook for routes. Of the 3 straightforward routes, the Gouter route (which is considered the normal route) has you ascend the Grand Couloir; a 1500′ wall of choss that shreds rocks and kills people on a regular basis. The Tres Monts route is touted by one guidebook as having the lowest objective danger… […]  [ Read More ]
Mountaineering  |  France
Jul 1, 2012
Chamonix. Where to start? If you’re a mountain climber sooner or later you’ll come here. Every climber you know raves about it and tells you to go. Indeed by our third day I happened upon climbers who in the past had crashed at our house en-route to Denali. Like I said… Sooner or later you’ll […]  [ Read More ]