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Chugach Range (71)

3 Traverses in Chugach State Park July 21, 2023
3 Traverses in Chugach State Park

Throughout Chugach State Park there are a number of ridges that can be linked up to make for long day or overnight tours and where most of the travel is above treeline. Of course sometimes half the adventure is getting to that ridge (or getting back to the trailhead after completing said ridge) at which […]

Baleful Peak (Northeast Ridge) August 3, 2019
Baleful Peak (Northeast Ridge)

Baleful Peak (7,990′) lies in the southeast corner of the Bold / Bashful / Baleful massif that sits tucked between the East Fork of the Eklutna and the headwaters and glacier of the West Fork of Hunter Creek.  The summit is a sharp buttress that juts sharply 1000’ above the surrounding ridgelines and Rod Wilson […]

Baneful Peak (West Ridge) May 29, 2015
Baneful Peak (West Ridge)

Eric on the West Ridge of Baneful Peak. Benevolent Point is the point directly above his head. Eric and I wanted to climb Benevolent (7126′). We biked out the Eklutna road, hiked 2.5 miles down the East Fork until we reached Tulchina Falls and then followed a narrow and overgrown hunter/climbers trail complete with fixed […]

Bashful Peak (West Ridge) August 1, 2013
Bashful Peak (West Ridge)

Edit June 2024: Once again people have been leaving fixed ropes in Chickenshit Gully.  Local guide Eliot Gaddy recently climbed the route and reported: “There is still a mess of junk rope frozen into ice in the gully, but I was able to grab the heaviest rope and carry it out. Expect to see a tangle […]

Bear Point (Northwest Couloir) April 19, 2009
Bear Point (Northwest Couloir)

Update 2/5/2021 This post is getting a ton of traffic so I’ll post what I posted elsewhere here since people have said it’s poignant… Update 2/3/2021 On Feb. 2nd 2021 three climbers were caught in an avalanche on this route and died. 54-year-old Tom Devine of Chugiak, Alaska, 43-year-old Matthew Nyman of Colorado Springs, Colorado, […]

Beelzebub (Northeast Ridge) July 20, 2014
Beelzebub (Northeast Ridge)

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 […]

Bellicose Peak (Shroud Glacier) July 2, 2020
Bellicose Peak (Shroud Glacier)

Bellicose Peak (7,640’) is the third highest peak in Chugach State Park, and by most accounts, the hardest to climb due to fickle conditions that only seem to materialize a few weeks each year.  The peak was first climbed in 1963 by John and William Bousman, who proposed the name Bellicose, “Due to its not […]

Benign Peak (Southeast Gully) September 25, 2014
Benign Peak (Southeast Gully)

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 […]

Boisterous Peak (Northeast Ridge) September 14, 2018
Boisterous Peak (Northeast Ridge)

Boisterous Peak (6,865’) sits on the ridge between Bold and Bashful and is often-overlooked due to its proximity to those peaks. However the peak is an exciting scramble and the various routes to the summit are such that one can find a route that is in shape for much of the year. Likewise the Northeast […]

Bold Peak (Stivers Gully) June 25, 2006
Bold Peak (Stivers Gully)

On June 25th Yvonne and I opted to give Bold Peak (7522′) a try. We drove to Eklutna on Saturday morning and by 8:45 am were biking in. The bike ride (10 1/2 miles) went by fairly quickly despite us not having biked more than once this summer. By 10 am we had cached our […]

Bounty Peak (East Ridge) August 16, 2020
Bounty Peak (East Ridge)

Bounty Peak (6,810’) lies at the very head of the East Fork of the Eklutna River and the ridgeline that makes up the peak forms the boundary between the Eklutna drainage, where water flows into Eklutna Lake / Eklutna River, and the Whiteout Glacier basin where water drains directly into the Knik.  The peak is […]

Compass Butte (Southwest Ridge) June 13, 2020
Compass Butte (Southwest Ridge)

Fold up your Imus Geographic Chugach State Park map and the peak nearest the exact center is Compass Butte – a “fugitive nunatak… escaping from the icy clutches of the Organ Glacier which surrounds all sides of this peak except the north” (Tim Kelley, November 1994, Scree). Compared to surrounding peaks like Polar Bear, Organ, […]

Delgga & Paradise, Camp Robber & Grey Jay, Crow September 13, 2015
Delgga & Paradise, Camp Robber & Grey Jay, Crow

The peaks above Crow Pass are perfect hikes for the shorter and cooler days of late summer. Fall colors, berries and zero bushwhacking make these fun mellow day trips. They’re perfect easy sneaker hikes before the snow flies – and fun scrambles after snow coats the slick sharp rocks along the ridge. Below are some notes and photos from 3 early fall days of scrambling around these peaks.

Devil’s Mistress (Southwest Face) & Sunlight Mountain (South Face) July 26, 2018
Devil’s Mistress (Southwest Face) & Sunlight Mountain (South Face)

A period of perfect weather in late July and a flurry of texts rounded up Eric Parsons and Lee Helzer for a weekend trip into the Blued Eyed Lake region in Chugach State Park. As is often the case with last minutes planning no one could leave at the same time / stay the same […]

Eagle Glacier → ERNC April 27, 2019
Eagle Glacier → ERNC

In late April 2019, Todd Kelsey, Joe Chmielowski and I skied from the Eagle Glacier to the Nature Center (ERNC). It was a great ski trip through familiar terrain that felt foreign when covered in snow.  All together it was 50 miles of travel (38 miles on skis) with 11K of elevation gain/loss. We took […]

Eagle Peak (North Face) May 31, 2008
Eagle Peak (North Face)

The forecast called for clouds and isolated showers; not ideal conditions given that isolated showers usually have a way of finding me, but I wanted to get out so I studied the maps and my photos. I finally decided to give the North Face of Eagle Peak a try. My reasoning was that 2 weeks […]

Early Season Southcentral AK ice December 9, 2012
Early Season Southcentral AK ice

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 […]

East Kiliak (N Face) July 17, 2010
East Kiliak (N Face)

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 […]

East Twin Peak (East Ridge) September 3, 2006
East Twin Peak (East Ridge)

On Labor Day weekend Yvonne and I climbed East Twin (5863′). I had previously tried this peak a total of three times; each time I barely made it to the base before turning around for a myriad of reasons. On Saturday. September 2nd Yvonne and I left town in rain and drove to Eklutna. It […]

Falls Creek Community Ski Values March 28, 2014
Falls Creek Community Ski Values

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. […]

Falls Lake Couloir April 5, 2013
Falls Lake Couloir

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 […]

Finch / Eagle Glacier Tour April 17, 2017
Finch / Eagle Glacier Tour
These photos are from a 5-day ski mountaineering trip on the Finch and Eagle glaciers in the Western Chugach / Chugach State Park. This exact Chugach State Park trip has been done by a few other parties so logistics have been dialed in which makes for easy planning. Basically, you charter an Alpine Air helicopter drop to the Chugach State Park boundary (no landings allowed in the park) on the Finch Glacier and then work your way back via the Finch / Eagle col to MCA hut on the Eagle (Rosie’s Roost) and then out to Crow Pass via either Raven Headwall or Goat Ridge.
Flatttop – Peak 2 – Peak 3 – Peak 4 August 9, 2012
Flatttop – Peak 2 – Peak 3 – Peak 4

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 […]

Flute Peak (North Couloir) June 6, 2009
Flute Peak (North Couloir)

The signs did not bode well. First of all the forecast was for clearing skies by mid morning – however the entire drive up into the South Fork of Eagle River was in a thick fog bank where we could see 200′ at the most. And then 45 minutes into the hike we were faced […]

Goat Head Couloir April 4, 2013
Goat Head Couloir

Edit: This is a great run but read this first before you try it: Avalanche Goat Head Couloir (mile 107) 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 […]

Goat Rock (West Ridge) May 19, 2015
Goat Rock (West Ridge)

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, […]

Icicle Peak (East Face) May 7, 2013
Icicle Peak (East Face)

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 […]

Indianhouse – Northwest Ridge May 30, 2011
Indianhouse – Northwest Ridge

Up late on a lazy Sunday. Coffee at 11am, breakfast at noon. Then finally decided to do something with the day and set off for Fall’s Creek with the dogs. Started up the trail around 1pm thinking I’d just go a little way – but the day was perfect and travel was fast so 4 […]

Indianhouse Mountain (East Face) March 27, 2006
Indianhouse Mountain (East Face)

On March 27th Yvonne and I climbed the E. face / East couloir of Indianhouse Mountain. The route was very straightforward and fun. It began with a nice hike that was free of snow up through the brush on faint game trails until we reached a bump on the south ridge at around 3000′. We […]

Jewel Mountain August 25, 2012
Jewel Mountain

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 […]

King Mountain March 4, 2006
King Mountain

On March 4th, 2006 I climbed the northeast ridge of King Mountain with Thai and Jody. King Mountain sits on the south side of the Matanuska River just south of Chickaloon and features an impressively steep and accessible north face that is a great late winter climb. The summit of King is 5809′ and you […]

Korohusk Peak – South Gully May 17, 2008
Korohusk Peak – South Gully

JT passed along info that Korohusk was in good shape, so on Saturday Yvonne, Bryce, Charlie and I headed up Eagle River to give it a try. The initial four miles went by in no time and soon we had reached the turn off point and were headed uphill. As usual the start required a […]

Learnard Peak (West Ridge) May 1, 2021
Learnard Peak (West Ridge)

Spring 1898 – Portage Glacier In the last vestiges of the 19th century America’s westward expansion, coupled with President McKinley’s embrace of expansionism, compelled the US to once again expand beyond established borders.  Alaska was purchased in 1867, Hawaii was annexed in 1898 and that same year the United States mobilized to war with Spain […]

Magpie (Southeast Gully) June 29, 2019
Magpie (Southeast Gully)

Magpie Peak (5,812’) lies hidden in a southern pocket of Chugach State Park just due west of the Crow Pass Trail and tucked between Raggedtop and Crow. It is generally is overlooked due to its proximity to other Crow Pass peaks, lack of easy access and especially rotten rock. There is no easy route to […]

Matanuska Peak April 15, 2011
Matanuska Peak

Bomb weather forecast and spring temps made me get the climbing itch so I asked around and finally rounded up a group. Our plan was to head up McRoberts Creek, traverse over Matanuska Peak and then attempt the Northwest Couloir of Frontier Peak. A big climb, a big approach – and as a result our […]

McHugh Ridge Walk April 9, 2011
McHugh Ridge Walk

The first storm came on Tuesday; a foot of low-density powder with only a hint of wind. The snow was to make the skiing very enjoyable, but it was also enough to cancel the week of skiing that I had planned with Todd. We enjoyed the resort and enjoyed an after work run on Peak […]

Milk & Raven Glacier Traverse October 17, 2005
Milk & Raven Glacier Traverse

Saturday, October 17th, 2005 was our first time out on skis since the previous April. There is powder north of Anchorage – but instead we opted for a traverse since we still have a little bit of light. So on Sunday we rounded up a group of friends and drove south to Girdwood where we […]

Moksha Peak (Southwest Ridge) July 22, 2023
Moksha Peak (Southwest Ridge)

Moksha Peak (6250’) lies southeast of Matanuska Peak, and when you climb Matanuska Peak it is the prominent peak you notice with a beautiful North Couloir that draws the eye. In recent years it has become a popular spring and fall destination due to a “decent” trail that departs from the Rippy trail on the […]

Moonlight Mountain (Northwest Glacier) & White Lice (West Ridge) July 15, 2020
Moonlight Mountain (Northwest Glacier) & White Lice (West Ridge)

Moonlight Mountain (6270’) and White Lice (6650’+) lie near the eastern edge of Chugach State park on the Eklutna Glacier – Moonlight Peak being the peak that lies just off the West Fork the summit just above a hanging valley that is on the southern flanks of Bellicose.  The glacier on the north side of […]

Nest, Bird & Peak 1445 August 10, 2018
Nest, Bird & Peak 1445

These are notes from climbing Nest Peak, Bird Peak and Peak 1445.  I climbed Bird in June 2001, Nest and Bird in August 2018 and 1445 in August 2018 and after multiple trips back there I figured I’d share my notes on access to the area. All of these peaks are fun hikes with minimal […]

North Suicide – Southwest Gully July 16, 2011
North Suicide – Southwest Gully

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 ridge line we […]

North Suicide (North Ridge & East Ridge) September 29, 2018
North Suicide (North Ridge & East Ridge)

North Suicide lies at the head of Rabbit Valley and is one of my favorite after-work jaunts in the mid-summer when sunlight lingers until 11pm.  You can leave the trailhead late afternoon, bike to Rabbit, hike up both North and South Suicide and be back in time for dinner. Elsewhere I’ve written up route details […]

North Suicide (Northeast Couloir) May 18, 2014
North Suicide (Northeast Couloir)

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 […]

Notch, A1, Mystery, Pipet & Yudi April 24, 2023
Notch, A1, Mystery, Pipet & Yudi

North and east of Girdwood there are 5 prominent peaks that cap the Glacier Valley skyline. Sometimes referred to as the Skyline Peaks the peaks are (from south to north): Notch Mountain (3087’), A1 (4900’), Mystery Mountain (5300’), Pipet Peak (6000’) and Yudi Peak (6540’). From a climbers / skiers perspective they range from 3 […]

On skiing and stiches May 2, 2014
On skiing and stiches

“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 […]

Organ Mountain (South Face) & Synthesizer Peak (North Ridge) July 15, 2017
Organ Mountain (South Face) & Synthesizer Peak (North Ridge)

These photos are from two trips a year apart, however given the proximity of the peaks I feel it makes sense to present both peaks together. Yvonne and I climbed Organ in July 2016 and I climbed Synthesizer with Todd Kelsey in July 2017.

Penguin Ridge June 7, 2015
Penguin Ridge

Penguin Ridge is the roadside ridgeline you see above the Seward Highway stretching from Girdwood to Bird. For years I’ve looked up at the ridge and wanted to hike it, and for years people have told me it’s a wonderful hike, yet for some reason I’ve always made an excuse to find something else to […]

Peril Peak (South Ridge) July 3, 2019
Peril Peak (South Ridge)

Peril Peak (7,040’) is the peak that forms the boundary between the West and main branches of the Ekultna glacier.  It is a dramatic peak rising 2,500’ above the surrounding glacier with the East Face being one of the larger and steeper walls of the Western Chugach.  Draw a polygon around the peak and the […]

Peters Peak (Northwest Ridge) August 5, 2018
Peters Peak (Northwest Ridge)

Peters Peak sits on the ridgeline south of Rumble and west of Bellicose.  Dwarfed by these two peaks it is easily overlooked, however the Northwest Ridge features a wonderful airy Class 4 ridge-walk. Getting to the base of the peak takes the better part of a day and the remoteness combined with the short technical […]

Pioneer Peak (North Face) June 17, 2006
Pioneer Peak (North Face)

On Friday night June 16th Wayne Todd called us and invited us on an attempt of the North Face of Pioneer. Wayne figured that since there was more snow than usual this summer, what is usually a March – May route was doable and safe this late in the year. For years I had lusted […]

Pleasant Mountain (Southwest Gully & North Glacier) March 31, 2019
Pleasant Mountain (Southwest Gully & North Glacier)

EDIT 8/30/2020 As of late summer 2020 legal access to Ram Valley is once again closed.  An influx of visitors were causing parking issues and the land owners blocked off access at the road with a sign saying that 57 visitors had come at one day. This closure shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Due to […]

Polar Bear Peak (Northwest Face) May 11, 2007
Polar Bear Peak (Northwest Face)

Thursday was Yvonne’s birthday so we had a party; a bunch of people came over and we cooked up a bunch of salmon and made halibut tacos. As usual halfway through the night talk turned to where to go for the weekend. The weather looked good and we were itching to go out so Yvonne […]

Ptarmigan Fat Bike Ski Mountaineering March 30, 2014
Ptarmigan Fat Bike Ski Mountaineering

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 […]

Punchbowl Glacier June 15, 2023
Punchbowl Glacier

This page is a collection of notes and photos from several trips to Punchbowl Glacier and the surrounding areas over several years. Included are notes and route descriptions for Nagoon Mountain (4,403’), Lingon Mountain (4,098’), Highbush Peak (4,669’) and Lowbush Peak (4,229’). Also includes are descriptions for Berg Peak (3,917’) and Hibbs Peak (4,423’) since […]

Raggedtop (Traverse) September 5, 2022
Raggedtop (Traverse)

Raggedtop Mountain (5,215′) lies due north of Girdwood and is situated between Crow Creek (to the east) and California Creek (to the west). It has a distinct south facing bowl that can viewed from the resort and a craggy ridgeline. There are two distinct summits – North being the taller and true summit, although it […]

Raina (N Couloir) & Peeking (W Ridge) April 3, 2010
Raina (N Couloir) & Peeking (W Ridge)

Spring- it means something different for everyone. For my mother in Virginia it means peas and corn sprouting after a short winter; for grumpy Anchorites unwilling to venture higher than 1500′ it means mud and muck and 22 trips to the car wash to keep that shine. For me it means the annual Chugach migration […]

Raina (NE Couloir) & Peeking (“X” Couloir) April 25, 2010
Raina (NE Couloir) & Peeking (“X” Couloir)

EDIT 8/30/2020 As of late summer 2020 legal access to Ram Valley is once again closed.  An influx of visitors were causing parking issues and the land owners blocked off access at the road with a sign saying that 57 visitors had come at one day. This closure shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Due to […]

Ripple & Comets come and gone February 14, 2013
Ripple & Comets come and gone

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 […]

Rook Mountain (South Couloir) March 23, 2017
Rook Mountain (South Couloir)

A spectacular peak from all directions, Rook Mountain lies North and 2000′ above Raven Glacier. There is no easy route to the summit which makes it a worthy objective that you must plan for in terms of weather, conditions and route. It’s a mountain I’ve been staring at for 10+ years waiting for the right combination of good snow conditions and solid partners and I’ve spent many a day walking or skiing past, looking up and waiting.

Rumble (South Face) July 7, 2005
Rumble (South Face)

On Saturday July 7th Yvonne, Steve Gruhn and I hiked in to try Mt. Rumble in Chugach State Park. We knew it could potentially be a very very long day so we hauled bivy sacks and some extra clothes. We were at the trailhead at 7:30 and started hiking. 3 hours, 2500′ and 5 miles […]

South Fork to Glen Alps x2 February 25, 2017
South Fork to Glen Alps x2
I’ve been here over 20 years but I had never taken the time to walk from the South Fork Eagle River to Glen Alps. This September I packed an overnight bag and trekked to Glen Alps via a route past Concerto / Tailfeater / The Sail / Ship Pass. Six months later I skied from South Fork to Hilltop via Hunter Pass / Williwaw-Koktoya Col / Middle Fork. Two great trips.
St. Patrick’s Day Tour March 17, 2013
St. Patrick’s Day Tour

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 […]

Temptation Peak (Southwest Ridge) July 11, 2010
Temptation Peak (Southwest Ridge)

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 […]

The Mitre (West Ridge) & Ovis (South Ridge) September 1, 2018
The Mitre (West Ridge) & Ovis (South Ridge)

By a stroke of luck I happened upon a full 3 free days over Labor Day Weekend.  With dry conditions I opted to head back into Eklutna in the hopes of climbing a couple of peaks above the glacier.  Joe Chmielowski was reeling from working too much at his new job and a single text […]

The Watchman (North Ridge) June 18, 2017
The Watchman (North Ridge)

The North Ridge starts with a grassy ridge which you follow for almost a mile / 1500′ until you reach point 4120. You then veer out onto a large bench on the west side of the peak which you traverse for 3/4 of a mile until again gaining the North ridge proper. Once back on the North Ridge the route starts getting more exposed and you must traverse back and forth on either side of the peak piecing together snow ramps, scree gullies and sheep trails.

The Wedge (Barcalounger) October 15, 2007
The Wedge (Barcalounger)

Charlie Sassara left an email last Thursday: “Want to try a route this Saturday? Call me.” I read it slowly and then called, trying to figure out what the best excuse would be to not go. “I can’t,” I told him. “We just bought a house. I’m out of shape. My exercise has consisted of […]

Thin White Mank April 20, 2013
Thin White Mank

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 […]

Vertigo Peak (NW Face) & Mt. Soggy (SW Ridge) June 16, 2015
Vertigo Peak (NW Face) & Mt. Soggy (SW Ridge)

Mid June and the forecast called for 2 days of perfect weather so Eric and I planned a business retreat and headed out to climb Vertigo and Soggy and talk about website redesign. We left town mid morning, were at Twin Falls by 3 and finally at the 3500′ rock campsite at the base of […]

West Kiliak (South Face) & Nantina Point (South Face) May 3, 2020
West Kiliak (South Face) & Nantina Point (South Face)

West Kiliak and Nantina Point lie 4 miles south of the Nature Center.  With Yukla they make up the 5000’+ cirque around Icicle Glacier and the walls facing northwest loom above as you trek up valley.  While both peaks have relatively moderate routes to the summit, neither are particularly accessible due to thick brush and […]

West Twin Peak (South Face) April 29, 2007
West Twin Peak (South Face)

On Saturday we pack leather boots, a half rope and a handful of cams, slings and biners just in case. By 9:15 we’ve parked in the small pull-out and are marching up and down the road looking into the woods with the dim hope that perhaps, somewhere, there is a trail. After a couple false […]

Williwaw (Northwest Ridge) June 16, 2013
Williwaw (Northwest Ridge)

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 […]

Talkeetna Range (17)

Aurora Slabialous & Yellow Brick Road July 23, 2011
Aurora Slabialous & Yellow Brick Road

Those who know me know that I tend to be pretty down on Alaska cragging. Cragging in Alaska is pretty poor. The Seward highway consists of loose choss on road cut above an endless stream of cars honking and running into each other. I’ve always been told that Puriton has high quality rock – but […]

Bomber Traverse in Winter April 12, 2009
Bomber Traverse in Winter

Note – Spring 2013 Lots of people are searching for this page so they can get more information about the traverse. Please be aware that since implementation of the new Hatcher Pass Management Plan there has been an unprecedented level of illegal snowmachine access occurring at the Snowbird Glacier and throughout the Glacier High Peaks […]

Chickaloon Glacier May 16, 2003
Chickaloon Glacier

On May 16th 2003, Todd Kelsey and I flew into the upper Chickaloon drainage with Dave of Grasshopper Aviation out of the Wasilla airport. We got to the airport to find out that fog was sitting over the landing zone so we sat around in Dave’s office while he regaled us with tales of plane […]

Fall September 11, 2011

Fall. No not the pretty colors and crisp cool nights. Fall where you’re plummeting through the air and a world of pain is inevitably in your near future. I hate falling. In 21 years of climbing I have fallen exactly 6 times and every single one of those falls is a vivid memory. Of course […]

Granite Peak (Southwest Ridge) June 10, 2007
Granite Peak (Southwest Ridge)

On Sunday Eric Parsons, Dan Boccia, Yvonne & I climbed the Southwest Ridge Granite Peak (6729′). We left town at 7:30 am and by 8:30 were driving in circles in the maze of 4WD trails that are at the base of Granite. Dan’s excellent driving technique through mud, over rocks and across ditches had Eric […]

Hatcher and the magic three March 3, 2013
Hatcher and the magic three

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 […]

Hatcher Tours & Helicopters April 10, 2019
Hatcher Tours & Helicopters

November 2019 Update In November 2019 DNR approved this permit. You can read the entire permit here and an ADN article about the approval here. It should come at no surprise that DNR permitted this.  DNR has a history of siding with motorized users and commercial operations in the Mat-Su area.  During the Knik River […]

Kesugi Ridge July 4, 2014
Kesugi Ridge

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 […]

Lower Spire  (West Ridge) August 28, 2011
Lower Spire (West Ridge)

A sunny day in Hatcher Pass is a rarity… a sunny day in late August in Hatcher Pass is about as close to divine providence as you can get so we took advantage of it. Jake Gano and I met up at 7:30 and drove to the pass. We were racked up and had started […]

Lower Spire attempt (West Ridge) July 29, 2007
Lower Spire attempt (West Ridge)

Saturday. I float the Upper Kenai in my tiny Dory and thoroughly enjoy the say. It feels like summer; the sun is shining brightly and the salmon are rolling underneath my boat – I even manage to catch a couple. The Upper Kenai is pretty calm for such a nice day. Everyone sits around in […]

Pinnacle (West Ridge) June 18, 2011
Pinnacle (West Ridge)

It’s another one of those summers. The forecast gave us one good day and then the rains were supposed to come back. Not enough time for an overnighter for weekend warriors but enough time for a day trip- or rather a 3/4 day trip. So we packed up the rope and rack and headed north […]

Pinnacle Tour March 8, 2014
Pinnacle Tour

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.

Susitna River (Gold Creek → Talkeetna) July 2, 2016
Susitna River (Gold Creek → Talkeetna)
For the 4th of July we packed up the kids, rafts and dogs and headed north to Talkeetna to float the Susitna River from Gold Creek to Talkeetna. This stretch of river is 40 miles of mellow class I with nice gravel bars and islands for camping and an easy take out that’s within 1 mile of where you leave your vehicle. The best part? You approach by train. And not just any train – but the last true flag-stop train in America.
Talkeetna Glacier April 19, 2008
Talkeetna Glacier

The earth buzzes by below us; rolling hills turn to spires, caribou tracks up ridge lines, blue ice overflowing tight river drainages. The creeks flow past – Caribou, Divide, Boulder. The mighty Chickaloon calm, frozen in time the meandering blue ice locked until Spring (who hovers just around the corner) descends. And suddenly we are […]

Toto & Zulu Warrior September 3, 2011
Toto & Zulu Warrior

Former Anchorite Austin Thayer was visiting and the weather forecast looked halfway decent so we met up early and drove up to Hatcher in the hopes of getting in some climbing before the rains came back. Ignoring the puddles we pushed up Archangel road and were roped up and starting up the first pitch of […]

Triplemint (Southwest Face) August 12, 2015
Triplemint (Southwest Face)

The Southwest face of Triplemint begins with a rock gully that leads to a grass sidewalk. From this point on it’s a series of grass sidewalks connected by short 3rd class sections of rock. Exposed, but never difficult, the grass sidewalks require a certain level of trust as we tiptoe across mud, tundra and lichen to short sections of solid, but wet, rock.

Troublemint (Southeast Ridge) July 4, 2001
Troublemint (Southeast Ridge)

I left Anchorage friday night around 8pm and got to the Mint trailhead around 9pm. It was wet and miserable — the rain coming down like crazy and the trail muddy and nasty (which makes all the trees hanging over the trail soak you to the bone). Pharaoh and I started hiking and within minutes […]

Alaska Range (13)

Accident on Freezy Nuts June 1, 2010
Accident on Freezy Nuts

We floated the Chulitna River over the long weekend- hot and sunny and with glorious views of the Alaska Range towering above the river. The mercury climbed to 80 degrees and we drifted down river in shorts and t-shirts. On Sunday night we camped on a gravel bar with the summits of Denali and Mooses […]

Explorer’s Peak, Mooses Tooth & Ruth Gap May 30, 2001
Explorer’s Peak, Mooses Tooth & Ruth Gap

Brad Horning, Jeff Young and I flew into the Ruth in the hopes of first climbing the Moose’s Tooth and then skiing up the West Fork of the Ruth Glacier, ascending Ruth Gap and then descending down the other side to reach the Kahiltna Glacier and ultimately Denali Base Camp. There Jeff would fly out […]

Foraker (abort) Denali (attempt) May 10, 2011
Foraker (abort) Denali (attempt)

We were feeling good after an active winter so we planned a 2 1/2 week Kahiltna trip for the month of May. I had climbed Denali before so I pushed for Foraker. Yvonne was easily convinced and so after hauling 5 gallon jugs of water up Flattop for 2 months we shelled out the cash […]

Gulkana River (Paxson Lake → Sourdough) July 1, 2010
Gulkana River (Paxson Lake → Sourdough)

Summer in Alaska is for family visitors. Some years no one shows up- Other years they show up in mass – a week here, a week there. Sometimes 2 weeks. Sometimes 3 weeks- sometimes more. Not that I’m complaining- when family visits it’s a chance to show them how you live. And how you live […]

Icefall on the Root Canal Glacier May 3, 2011
Icefall on the Root Canal Glacier

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 Canal Glacier hoping to climb Ham & Eggs on the South face of the Mooses Tooth. KTNA (Talkeetna Public Radio) […]

Mt. Barrill, Mt. Dickey & Freezy Nuts May 2, 2009
Mt. Barrill, Mt. Dickey & Freezy Nuts

Spring climbing came once again… and once again I started trolling for partners. Many options and many ideas were voiced but Yvonne and I finally announced we were going to the Alaska Range; to the Ruth Gorge. Everyone wants to go to the Ruth – and suddenly Yvonne and I had 2 other partners (Bryce […]

Mt. Crosson (Southeast Ridge) May 10, 2002
Mt. Crosson (Southeast Ridge)

‘Tis the season. We leave for the Alaska Range in two weeks so I thought I’d scan some old photos to remind myself what I’m getting into. These photos are from a 2002 May ascent of the SE Ridge of Mt. Crosson with my friend Dahr Jamail. I don’t remember too much about the climb… […]

Mt. Francis and Kahiltna Dome May 21, 2004
Mt. Francis and Kahiltna Dome

I ‘m back. I’ve been here four times now – yet I am still awed by the presence of the Cassin and Denali’s summit as it appears hulking above our heads while we dig in for the night. Snow falls, the temperature rises just above freezing – the familiar pitter patter of sleet on a […]

Rescue Me May 27, 2011
Rescue Me

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.) […]

Talachulitna River June 30, 2011
Talachulitna River

In July I spent a week floating the Talachulitna River in Western Cook Inlet with my father-in-law, Alain. We took our time and enjoyed the fishing – spending around 10 hours a day on the water and fishing continuously for trout, dollies, grayling and kings. We saw Belted Kingfishers, Rusty Blackbirds, Bonaparte’s Gull as well […]

Triangle and White Princess May 14, 2006
Triangle and White Princess

On May 14th Yvonne and I woke up early and by 7am were skiing up the Casner Glacier in the Deltas en route to the upper glacier to attempt a few peaks. We hauled 7 days of food and fuel, skis, sleds, crevasse gear and a few pickets and screws for the larger peaks. The […]

Upper Nenana River May 23, 2015
Upper Nenana River

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 […]

Whale’s Tail (Ruth Gorge → Road) April 14, 2022
Whale’s Tail (Ruth Gorge → Road)

This is a tale of two Tails: the Whale’s Tail – which is the ridge between the Ruth Glacier and Tokositna Glacier and features a classic ski trip where one traverses the Tokosha Mountains (Tokosha is a Tanaina word meaning “the place where there are no trees”) with breathtaking views of glaciers beneath your feet, […]

Kenai Range (16)

Bench Peak (North Face) April 17, 2011
Bench Peak (North Face)

Your world is getting smaller. Like it or not, there are more people skiing the lines you like to ski. Head down to Turnagain on a powder day and it can be hard to find fresh tracks. Try and ski a peak close to the road 5 days after a storm and the chances of […]

Bertha Creek Tour March 13, 2013
Bertha Creek Tour

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 […]

Big Chief February 1, 2015
Big Chief

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 […]

Byron Peak (North Glacier) August 11, 2007
Byron Peak (North Glacier)

3 suns; three whole days of sunshine! That’s what the weather report said and after a solid month of rain we were psyched. Work was out of the question with such a forecast so I emailed Eric a tantalizing note and topo file showing a proposed route up Byron, down the east face and across […]

Carpathian (North Ridge) March 12, 2011
Carpathian (North Ridge)

  Carpathian Peak as seen from the summit of Byron. Carpathian. It beckons to every climber and skier who happens to catch sight of it on a clear day. It looms above Turnagain arm like an impregnable fortress. You can’t help but gawk at the prominent summit as you drive by. Every time you top […]

Christmas Eve on Tincan Proper December 24, 2010
Christmas Eve on Tincan Proper

One Christmas Eve I went down to Turnagain and skied Tincan Proper. This is more or less how it went… (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore). Twas the day before Christmas and all through the Pass All the boarders were hucking and landing on ass. The kickers were built next to the skintrack with care […]

Explorer Peak (West Ridge) April 28, 2013
Explorer Peak (West Ridge)

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 […]

Explorer Peak (West Ridge) April 21, 2007
Explorer Peak (West Ridge)

Alaska has woken from its slumber. Last weekend I saw bear tracks meandering through the snow; yesterday I saw a coyote slink through the trees. Rock climbers are venturing out onto the cliffs next to the highway and the dogs are lounging around outside in the sun. However… there is still snow to be had […]

Grandaddy (attempt) & Thoughts on Risk March 4, 2012
Grandaddy (attempt) & Thoughts on Risk

What is a forecast? When the ave center gives you a green light, how does it affect your motives and goals for the day? That was the discussion of the day as we skinned up valley under crystal blue skies with what appeared to be a stellar snowpack. We had a big line in mind […]

Halibut Fun August 28, 2010
Halibut Fun

“It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.” – Yvon Chouinard. Drove South to Homer (5 hours) for some halibut fishing this weekend. We went with our friend Becky who has a house and boat down there. Left friday night and by 11ish saturday morning we were uploading the skiff into Kachemak Bay. Weather was […]

Ishtmus Icefield Attempt April 14, 2006
Ishtmus Icefield Attempt

On April 14th Wayne, Carrie, Yvonne and I left the parking lot at Portage Lake at 10:30 am and skied across Portage Lake. It was one of those rare days in Portage: perfectly calm, clear and not a cloud in the sky. We were laden with heavy pack – 6 days of food and fuel, […]

Kenai River (Kenai Lake → Skilak Lake) June 15, 2017
Kenai River (Kenai Lake → Skilak Lake)

With a season of river trips in the works we packed up the boat for a shakedown weekend run down the Upper Kenai. The 2017 fishing season had officially opened a few days prior, but the first few days typically are slow fishing and it was nice to have the river mostly to ourselves from Kenai Lake to Sportsman. From Sportsman’s to Jim’s we encountered several boats and the usual throng of people at the Russian River. Not even bothering to pull out the rods we pushed downriver stopping only occasionally to stretch the legs.

Kickstep (West Ridge) March 19, 2011
Kickstep (West Ridge)

Saturday was yet another absolutely beautiful day in Southcentral Alaska, so we packed the skis and some climbing gear and headed south to try Kickstep. We left the parking lot around 10:30 with ski gear, crampons, axe, 30m of rope, harnesses and a couple pickets. Travelling up Lyon Creek was fast and 2 1/2 later […]

Pastoral Peak (Fat Santa Claus Chute) April 12, 2008
Pastoral Peak (Fat Santa Claus Chute)

High pressure pushed over Southcentral Alaska so I rounded up a group and on Saturday we headed down to Turnagain Pass for yet another day of powder skiing. We started out with a large group – 6 in total – and headed up and over Taylor Pass. However at the pass Eric the Viking’s hip […]

Tincan Peak (North Ridge) April 13, 2021
Tincan Peak (North Ridge)

January 2021, Tincan Creek Temps were in the single digits when we started out, moisture from our breath condensing around glasses and hats and the crunch of the snow startling in the still morning air. We skied in large puffy jackets, heads down, not talking – concentrating on flexing the fingers that took too long […]

Wolverine (Flying Cornice) Peak March 29, 2009
Wolverine (Flying Cornice) Peak

We had the worst avalanche report of the season – multiple weak layers, 6 plus feet of new snow, warming temperatures – and to top it off, the threat of a rumbling Mt. Redoubt 130 miles to the west. But we couldn’t stay home; the forecast was calling for a blizzard warning that evening. We […]

Wrangell Mountains (4)

How to Dipnet with a Bike June 13, 2011
How to Dipnet with a Bike

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 […]

Nabesna Glacier → Copper Glacier June 15, 2014
Nabesna Glacier → Copper Glacier

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 […]

On beacons and Mt. Blackburn May 13, 2005
On beacons and Mt. Blackburn

The climbing scene is all-abuzz with the recent report of a rescue on Mt. Hayes last week. Two Fairbanks climbers set out to climb the East Ridge and made it up and over Levi’s Bump (10,500′) without incident where a storm forced them to dig a snow cave. They waited out weather then went for […]

Roadtrip to Alaska November 9, 2013
Roadtrip to Alaska

“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 […]

Yukon (Alaska) (1)

Yukon River (Eagle → Circle) July 5, 2018
Yukon River (Eagle → Circle)

Summer 2018 found us planning another Yukon River float.   We had floated a section in Canada the previous summer so we opted to float Eagle to Circle – a 150 mile remote section, much of it Yukon Charley National Preserve. Joining us were Bryn Clark, Louis Sass and Aven, who had previously floated this section […]

Arctic (1)

Koyukuk River (North Fork) June 15, 2021
Koyukuk River (North Fork)

These are photos and notes from a float down the North Fork of the Koyukuk in Gates of the Arctic National Park –  a Wild and Scenic river that is entirely within Gates of the Arctic National Park.  The standard section of this float is to fly into a gravel bar just downstream from the […]


Canadian Rockies (2)

Balfour Col April 22, 2012
Balfour Col

The wind was howling, snow was swirling and visibility had been reduced to about 10 feet. A pure whiteout. The kind where you can’t tell up from down and left from right. Stop skiing and look down at your skis and it feels like the ground is moving underneath you. Vertigo takes control and the […]

Mt. Nestor July 8, 1999
Mt. Nestor

For our first climb in the Canadian Rockies we chose an easy route: the East Ridge of Mt. Nestor (II, 5.5) – a 9,744′ peak that lies off the Spray Lakes road south of Canmore. The guidebook referred to the route as “an enjoyable afternoon climb” so we felt good about sleeping in. While packing […]

Yukon (Canada) (2)

Yukon River (Carmacks → Dawson City) July 3, 2017
Yukon River (Carmacks → Dawson City)

10 sunny days and 1 day of rain. Temps reached into the 80s, forest fires built on the horizon and an orange haze filled the river valley and on our only rainy day the rainwater tasted like smoke. Our camps ranged from classic Yukon river wooded camps where travelers have beat down dirt platforms near old log cabins, to large open islands with cobblestone beaches and back channels of stagnant warm water and mud that invited children to shed clothes and bathe.

Yukon River (Whitehorse → Carmacks) June 3, 2023
Yukon River (Whitehorse → Carmacks)

Our family summer float for 2023 was a mess of plans. A deep snowpack in Southcentral Alaska, combined with a cold spring meant that local rivers were bankfull at best – and full flood stage in several watersheds. Eventually, after hitting refresh on USGS stream gauges for the better part of a week, we switched […]

East Coast

North Carolina (1)

(the) Southeast Rock(s) October 20, 2012
(the) Southeast Rock(s)

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 […]

West Virginia (1)

Seneca November 27, 1992

I remember the first time I climbed at Seneca; Thanksgiving break 1992. Three of us skipped out from Thanksgiving family duties and drove 2 hours north from Charlottesville Virginia. Paul, Dave and myself. Paul and I had gone to the same high school and had been climbing together for a couple years. Dave was new […]


France (2)

Chamonix July 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 […]

Mont Blanc – Dôme du Goûter North Ridge July 16, 2012
Mont Blanc – Dôme du Goûter North Ridge

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… […]

South America

Argentina (1)

Aconcagua – Polish Direct January 5, 2010
Aconcagua – Polish Direct

Prologue The pain comes a few days later. Three, four days after you think you’re home free, it descends crashing into your immune system. The first thing you notice when you wake up is your skin beginning to flake and peel. A couple days later it turns black and you try not to look at […]

West Coast

Washington (2)

Boston Basin July 28, 2017
Boston Basin

Photos from 5 days in Boston Basin in the North Cascades with ascents of Forbidden Peak (West Ridge), Sahale Mountain (Quien Sabe Glacier) & Mt. Torment (South Ridge).

Mt. Shuksan (Sulphide Glacier) & Mt. Baker (North Ridge) June 3, 2016
Mt. Shuksan (Sulphide Glacier) & Mt. Baker (North Ridge)

Photos from a week of climbing in the North Cascades with ascent of the Sulphide Glacier on Mt. Shuksan and the North Ridge of Mt. Baker.

Utah (5)

A Trip to the Desert March 30, 2012
A Trip to the Desert

South for a week of work. And since I’m leaving Alaska I coordinate with friends who live nearby. By chance an old high school friend, Tim Stubbs, happens to live in the same town as my client. So I make the arrangements, board the red eye and fly south reaching Southwest Colorado in mid afternoon. […]

Colorado River (Meander Canyon) October 21, 2015
Colorado River (Meander Canyon)

Photos and notes from a 5 day kid float down Meander Canyon – the mellow 51 mile stretch of the Colorado River from Potash to Spanish Bottom.

Green River (Desolation & Gray Canyons) October 9, 2016
Green River (Desolation & Gray Canyons)

This is a photo dump from a recent trip down Desolation and Gray Canyons on the Green River. 10 of us flew down from Anchorage and spent a week on the river. We had 6 adults and 4 kids ages 3-6. We crowded into 2 16′ rafts and brought a packraft as an extra boat. We had perfect weather (7 days of 70 degree sun) and low flows (3000cfs) which meant the majority of the rapids were mere ripples (but also meant that travel was slow).

Green River (Desolation & Gray Canyons) October 15, 2017
Green River (Desolation & Gray Canyons)

These are photos from an October 2017 raft trip through Desolation and Gray Canyons on the Green River. I’ve wrote up a pretty lengthy post about this trip in October 2016, so I’ll limit this to mostly a photo essay. Todd Kelsey scored another cancellation permit for Desolation / Gray and put together another team […]

Green River (Labyrinth & Stillwater Canyons) October 20, 2019
Green River (Labyrinth & Stillwater Canyons)

Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons, the canyons of the lower Green River, evoke stories.  The ancestral Puebloan and Fremont people, who made their homes along the river, painted and carved their stories on walls just above the waters edge and on boulders overlooking valleys below.  Utes, Navajos and Paiutes followed and added to the stories, turning […]

Montana (1)

Beartooth High Lakes Traverse June 29, 2015
Beartooth High Lakes Traverse

Our route first climbed to Albino Lake where we set up our tents near the lakeshore. West of camp was an easy route up the south ridge of Lonesome Mountain (11,399′) and we spent a layover day taking turns hiking up the south ridge for a great view of the high lakes region. We followed this up with a short move over a pass to Jasper Lake where we camped in-between Jasper and Golden lakes and scrambled up the south ridge of Spirit Mountain (12,283′).

Colorado (1)

Aspen Snow & Ouray Ice February 7, 2015
Aspen Snow & Ouray Ice

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 […]

Idaho (2)

City of Rocks June 20, 2009
City of Rocks

Cragging. To a climber that’s all one has to say. The word implies good times, good fun – a vacation. To a non-climber how can I explain it? Cragging is when you go to a climbing area where all the climbs are an easy 5-10 minute walk from the car and the climbs are maximum […]

Respect, Reverence and Whitewater April 30, 2012
Respect, Reverence and Whitewater

A quick trip to Boise to visit my (used to be) little brother. Of course my brother wants to entertain so even before I get there he starts sending texts about current levels on the Main Payette (“10,000 cfs on the Main. Big Water. Big Fun!”). I call him and tell him he’s crazy. My […]

Nevada (1)

Climbing in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada November 8, 2010
Climbing in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

A fall, sprain and fractures in the tibia and talus meant I spent most of September and October on the couch watching bad Netflix, [reading] [a few] [good] [books] and learning how to code jquery mobile. No late summer / fall rock climbing trip for me. After the doctor said I wasn’t going anywhere tickets […]

Wyoming (4)

Baxter Pinnacle & Symmetry Spire June 26, 2009
Baxter Pinnacle & Symmetry Spire

The Tetons; will I ever tire of them? There are so many places to go so many mountain ranges scattered across the continent yet I am always drawn back to the magnificent view of the Cathedral Group towering above the valley floor. The tops of the peaks dusted with snow, lines traced with fingers of […]

Devil’s Tower August 6, 1995
Devil’s Tower

“You can’t sleep here!” The Man stood over us silhouetted against the dawn sky. I sat up and looked in his direction. It was barely light out but I could make out his uniform and the telltale hat. Beyond The Man’s hat 1200′ of rock intruded into the dawn sky. The sun was just beginning […]

Gannett Peak – West Couloir July 25, 2008
Gannett Peak – West Couloir

It was one of those cold summers. Snow patches lingered in the yard till June and we were still climbing snow couloirs in June like it was May. The July rains came early, rock climbing consisted of long drives to Hatcher Pass only to turn around and drive home. Mountain climbing became something you did […]

Wyoming Rock July 24, 2008
Wyoming Rock

Winter lasted well into June in Anchorage. Snow patches lingered in the yard till June and we were still climbing snow couloirs like it was May in mid June. Then the July rains came early… rock climbing consisted of long drives to Hatcher only to turn around and drive home, mountain climbing was out of […]

Oregon (1)

John Day River (Service Creek → Cottonwood) June 1, 2019
John Day River (Service Creek → Cottonwood)

We pooled permits with a number of families and came away empty.  The backup plan was the John Day River which, as of 2019, was not permitted (note – starting 2020 permits are required).  Coordination with my brother, raft rental from Service Creek Resort, permits from BLM, several hundred pounds of gear packed into duffle […]