These are photos from a 2015 Memorial Day weekend float on the Upper Nenana River from mile 17 of the Denali Park road to the Parks Highway (20 river miles). This is a totally mellow Class I float that is one of the better kid’s river in Southcentral AK. We left Anchorage early Saturday morning […]  [ Read More ]
Looking across the valley at (left to right) Goat Rock, West Twin, East Twin from Thunderbird Ridge. Mid May is transition season. The snow is too sloppy and unstable to ski and rock too wet to climb. Ice routes have turned into giant snow cones and rivers and lakes are undergoing breakup. Choices are limited, […]  [ Read More ]
Our winter sucks so my wife gave me a choice: Hawaii or Colorado. To me that isn’t much of a choice – I’ve been to the beach once in 25 years and that was to Thailand where you can step off the sand and clip bolts. Thus after about 2 seconds of debate we bought […]  [ Read More ]
Skiing  |  Kenai Range
Feb 1, 2015
After months of none of the above the magic combination of sun, snow and stability finally settled over Southcentral Alaska. A mid January storm deposited enough snow to finally ski from the road. The storm was followed by high pressure and cold which was finally followed by a warming trend that made long days feasible […]  [ Read More ]
The SE Gully of Benign Peak as seen from Pichler’s Perch. Indian summer had arrived. Weeks and weeks of overcast skies and continuous rain had put us in running for the rainiest 60 day span on record. But, as it often does, the weather finally broke in late September and we were treated to a […]  [ Read More ]
Dropping down to Blue Eyed Lake. We got there easy enough: 7 hours to our base camp at Blue Eyed Lake through devils club, cow parsnip and fireweed that towered over the head, muddy steep alder tunnels and up and down 2000′ of scree and snow to a secluded lake where we got some much […]  [ Read More ]
2001 was a long time ago. I spent 30 days that spring on the Ruth Glacier and Denali. At 14 camp on Denali’s West Buttress we camped next to Dave Johnston, his wife, Cari Sayre, and their son Galen. Dave and Cari planned on taking their son, age 11, to the summit which would make […]  [ Read More ]
Looking towards Mt. Jarvis and Tumble Creek from the air. My oldest brother, John, was turning 60 and wanted an Alaska adventure so I started planning. I was intrigued by the north side of the Wrangell mountains after a short visit in the fall and wanted to explore the land closer to the mountains. With […]  [ Read More ]
Last March on my way up Avalanche I snapped a photo of the North face of North Suicide. It was a bluebird day and I pretty much had my finger on the camera all day snapping photos of faces and couloirs that I’d like to explore. Back home editing through the photos a feature on […]  [ Read More ]
“When did you do this?” The PA stares at my finger. It’s Anchorage and I know her, so I can’t just ignore her you’re a moron look. “Umm.. Around 4.” I reply. She checks her watch. “18 hours ago?” I nod sheepishly. “And why didn’t you come to see me right away?” “Ummm … I […]  [ Read More ]
Ptarmigan North (not “S”) Couloir. Photo by Eric Parsons. Sunday was one of those perfect days so we played the parent switch game. Yvonne got first shift and she opted to go run up Bird Ridge in the sun. She texted me just before noon that she was on top and on her way down […]  [ Read More ]
It was the winter of ’98 and I had already been in Alaska for two years when I finally decided it was time to learn to ski. I bought skis, boots, bindings – the whole package – and I started the weekend pilgrimage to Turnagain Pass. 15+ years ago the Pass was a different place. […]  [ Read More ]
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 ]
Edit August 2020:  For the second time in the past 3 years Bashful Peak now has a fixed rope. For some reason Chugach climbers have decided that Chikenshit Gully is too dangerous and that subsequent climbers need a fixed line to safely ascend this gully. The first rope was placed in August 2017 and was […]  [ 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 ]