Search
All Posts
« Emergency Gear | Main | Nancy Lakes »
Wednesday
Dec122012

Early Winter AK Ice

It barely snowed this winter in Southcentral Alaska. But that's okay. Ice was everywhere. It was my favorite ice season in Alaska. Thanks for great times Tucker, Billy, Cathy, Sam, Ryan, Andrew, Dana D, Joshua and Cody!

Cody Arnold leading a possible first ascent IN Anchorage. During the September rains, a vegalanche cleaned a portion of the canyon wall of Campbell Creek, leaving a swath of rock. This 130-foot ice route formed. The approach is 10 minutes from the Stuckagain parking lot.  

 

Andrew McLean came up from Salt Lake for a Friends fundraiser. While fat bike riding we spotted this gully on the north side of Ptarmigan Peak, just before Grey Lake. 

 

The next day we climbed the 250-foot route of beautiful ice in a cleft of solid rock. Here's Andrew pulling a few vertical moves at the top.  

 

Sam Johnson leading pitch two of three on Dreams of Brown Moose. This route in Portage has topped my wish list for years. It lies in the creepiest avalanche path around. We carefully chose our day. The next day, people were nailed by avalanches and left all their gear on the route.  

 

Sam ice bouldering in the approach tunnel to Dreams of Brown Moose. Last year, the record snowfall loaded the Dreams approach gully with debris hundreds of feet deep. During summer this tunnel melted out.  

 

Later in the week, Sam and I went dry tool bouldering in the forest above the Seward Highway. This new sector near Potter Marsh is stacked with great summer and winter bouldering. Once the coffee chalet is finished, and baristas hired, we'll announce the location. 

 

Cathy soloing a portion of a 2,000-foot gully in the Western Chugach. With little snow, and a record-soggy September, every gully in the Chugach contained a fat and juicy flow of ice.

 

Cathy on one of the five pitches we roped up for. This pitch was 35 meters of water ice IV. The next day in surgery, Cathy had a nefarious chunk of meniscus removed from her knee that was causing it to lock. 

 

Billy Finley dangled over Eklutna Canyon and took this photo of me pumped silly, dry tooling up overhanging Chugach choss.  

 

A few weeks later, Billy Finley and I enjoyed four of the Beer Climbs near the Butte.

 

On the drive back from the Butte, Billy and I spotted this beauty, way back up Goat Creek, among the alder and devil's club. 

 

A few days later I recruited Tucker Chenoweth, a seasoned bushwacker, for a Goat Creek adventure. An hour from the car, and still bleeding from the club, Tucker starts the route.

 

The route was 1,800 vertical feet of ice. We stayed roped, simul-climbing to avoid becoming a human pin-ball back to the base. 

 

  

One of the steps on the Goat Creek route. 

 

Topping out at sunset above the Knik River.

 

Butte-style trail markers back to the car.  

 

Joshua Foreman in Victor Creek, near Seward. 

 

Joshua Foreman climbing Candyland, Seward Highway. 

Now the snow is piling up. And that's cool. But, I have to admit. I am crossing my fingers for another cold and dry fall season 2013!