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 ]
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 ]