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Climbing
Mountaineering   (60 Articles)
Aug
06
2013
Eric approaching the Eklutna July 2013. Note the rock glacier and gully. ...then the fun started. What in May had been a simple skin now required a traverse across a shifting groaning rock glacier. The traverse started with a jog across the Bellicose/Benign gully to a safe-enough zone where we transitioned from sneakers to mountain bo...

Jun
01
2010

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 Tooth jutting above the clou...

Jan
05
2010
Aconcagua's Polish Glacier... Part 1 of 4....

Jan
10
2010

Aconcagua's Polish Glacier... Part 2 of 4....

Jan
20
2010
Aconcagua's Polish Glacier... Part 3 of 4....

Jan
31
2010

Aconcagua - Part IV.  Books and Web Links, route info, logistical support etc..  (Basic stuff that you could probably get from Secor's book or Summitpost.)...

May
29
2015
...Anywhere else in Chugach State Park, Baneful Peak at 5,495', would be a worthy objective - but when dwarfed by 6,000', 7,000' and 8,000' peaks like Bashful, Baleful and The Mitre, it seems trivial and hardly worth the effort. And so we halfheartedly started our scramble up the grassy tundra slopes just above treeline. However - within a ...

Aug
01
2013

W. Ridge of Bashful as seen from Thunderbird Peak Read more for additional pictures and a ridiculously detailed route description....

Apr
19
2009
For years I've been eyeing the couloirs that snake directly up the north face of Bear Point (the wall above Mirror Lake on the Glenn Highway). There are 2 very obvious lines - a direct couloir that drops straight off the summit for almost 3000' and a twisty turny line that ascend though rock bands and tops out just east of the summit. This year t...

Sep
25
2014

On the summit of Benign. Benign Peak, at 7235', is one of the 21 7,000' summits in Chugach State Park and one of the few 7,000' summits you can do in a day. ...

Jun
25
2006
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 bikes, changed and began hiking down the East Fork of the Eklutna trail. The t...

Aug
11
2007

We reached the parking lot, sorted through gear once again and by 7:30 were hiking down the trail making light of the Forest Service signs that alerted us to impending doom on the glacier above. By 8am we had reached the ice and were staring up at the route. Initially we had planned to take the normal route - which is the west ridge. However the ...

Jun
11
2006
On June 11th Yvonne, Anne Gore and I climbed Cantata Peak via the standard route. We began the hike from the South Fork trailhead around 9 am and reached the ridge between Eagle and Symphony lake at 10am and were soon hiking up the drainage that puts you in the large bowl on the north west side of Cantata. We then hiked across t...

Mar
12
2011

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 out on a peak in Turnagain, you turn and look to the Northeast hoping to catch a glimpse. See it on...

Jul
01
2012
We spent all of July in France. Three weeks in Chamonix and one week in Saint Gervais with friends. I have hundreds of photos and pages of journal entries to sort through so this is nothing more than a brief roundup of our time spent and climbs done....

May
16
2003

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 crashes. Nothing fills your mind with confidence like a pilot...

Jun
07
2001
After our trip into the Ruth Gorge Jeff young flew back to Anchorage while Brad and I flew to the Kahiltna and started up the West Buttress of Denali.  The following are entries from my journal from May 30th - June 6th....

May
31
2008

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 ago north facing slopes were still powder and south facing sl...

Jul
17
2010
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 at the head of the Raisin Glacier - a seldom visi...

Sep
03
2006

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 was still cloudy at the parking lot but at least it wasn't rai...

Apr
21
2007
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 for those of us who don't wish to put the s...

May
30
2001

Brad Horning, Jeff Young and I flew into the Ruth in the hopes of first climbing the Mooses 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 and Brad and I would continue up the West Buttre...

Jun
06
2009
Our plan was to climb Flute Peak. Flute Peak sits 10 miles from the South Fork trailhead at the very head of the Flute Glacier. The route consists of a glacier crossing, steep snow and a final rock pitch. There were 3 of us - Eric, Yvonne and I. All of us had tried it once before. Eric had actually made it to the rock pitch last spring before bac...

May
10
2011

A short lived Foraker attempt and a foul weather trip up to 17 camp on the West Buttress. (Next year I'm going sport climbing.)...

Jul
25
2008
Can you really remember when the climb started? How the pack feel when you first lifted it? Or did you only really notice the pack once you started to climb steeper ground? Was the first meeting with your friend the start of the friendship - or does a friendship start slowly like the slog to base camp, solidifying only as you get higher and the c...

May
19
2015

Notes and photos from a fun day on Goat Rock....

Jun
10
2007
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 howling in delight and Yvonne biting her nai...

May
03
2011

The Mooses Tooth (peak on left) as seen from the summit of Mt. Dickey. Ham & Eggs takes the narrow couloir just left of the summit. The North face of the Mooses Tooth as seen from the summit of Explorer Peak. Lots of news and commentary has been published recently in regards to the recent accident on the Root Canal Glacier. In short, Chris...

May
07
2013
Icicle Peak route profiles and pictures....

May
30
2011

Up south Suicide with two hot dogs on a lazy afternoon and the Northwest Ridge of Indianhouse catches my eye. A day later I'm back with a rope, rack and partner for nice long ramble across gendarmes and sidewalks on a perfect Memorial Day. [ Northwest Ridge of Indianhouse ] ...

Mar
27
2006
On March 27th Yvonne and I climbed the E. face / East couloir of Indianhouse Peak.  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 then traversed the entire East face until we reached...

Mar
19
2011

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 w...

Mar
04
2006
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 begin at 800' and pretty much gain 5000' in 1...

Jun
05
2005

On Sunday we hiked in to try Korohusk from Eagle River. The initial trail up through the brush was good - but we soon lost it and had a good bush whack session before re-finding the trail somewhere around 2000'.  We reached the hanging valley after 4 hours of hiking and we rewarded with a glimpse of the peak. The route take...

May
17
2008
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 little bush whacking; but it was still early enough in the season to wh...

Jul
16
2012

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......

May
06
2010
Video from our climb of Ham and Eggs in May 2010. More pix of the route here. ...

Jul
20
2014

On the summit of Beelzebub. 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 needed sleep. Then up and over Inferno Pass which lies tucked into ...

Jul
12
2001
We were up at 4am and out on the trail by 5am  - trudging up the Snow Coach Road towards the Northwest bowl of Andromeda.   The approach was tedious, 2 hours of hiking across moraine on a faint trail followed by and hour up an icefall - weaving in and out of crevasses and up and over steep ice, one foot on gravel the other front...

May
02
2009

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 Stath and Austin Thayer) to share camp and cont...

Jul
06
2001
July 6th; Saskatchewan Glacier - We are camped on the upper reached of the Saskatchewan Glacier in Jasper National Park. We woke up around 9 this morning, packed up and then headed over to the Parks office at the Icefields were we filled out a permit for Mt. Columbia. Originally we had planned to go up the Athabasca Glacier and set up the paper wor...

May
10
2002

Pictures from a May 2002 ascent of the Southeast Ridge of Mt. Crosson. [ Click here for photos. ] ...

Jul
03
2001
The alarm went off at 5:30 am and we were up and drinking coffee by 6 am. Our plan was to climb the East Ridge of Edith Cavell. The guidebook stated that the route could comfortably be climbed in a long day. We began hiking in at 6:30 am. The hike began with a nice trail that is beneath the massive north face and the Angel Glacier, and then up a...

May
21
2004

I know I know. Call me cliché - call me unoriginal, uncreative, unadventurous, boring, standard whatever... 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 freez...

Jul
08
1999
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 up in the morning, I pulled off my helmet and pointe...

Jul
07
2005

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 later we reached the top of Bombardment Pass. We then had to descend 2...

Jun
03
2016
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....

Nov
30
2006

We are back in Anchorage after our long absence.  We returned to find -10 temperatures which was harsh considering it was 95 when we left Thailand!  In short we were gone 6 weeks.  We spent 1 month in Nepal; 3 weeks in the Khumbu and 1 week in Katmandu and Chitwan National Park.  We followed this up with 2 weeks in Thailan...

Jul
16
2011
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 ridgeline we had one spot of D0 (the dog equivalent of A0) followed...

May
18
2014

Suicide Tour! From the Indian trailhead up Powerline trail to the east slopes of Homicide. Across to the base of the NE couloir of North Suicide. Up the NE couloir to the top of North Suicide, down to Windy Gap, up South Suicide, down Falls Creek and a hitchhike down the Seward highway.  Steep snow, some rock, lots o...

May
13
2005
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 the summit. Apparently they wen...

Jun
17
2006

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 after this route and had never gotten the chance to g...

May
11
2007
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 bailed on work for Friday. Later in the evening Eric stopped by and ca...

Jul
09
2006

On July 9th 2006 I took my brother and nephew up Ptarmigan Couloir. My nephew had never climbed a snow route before (and never even worn crampons!). My brother had done a few moderate snow routes but had never used two ice axes or pickets. They were both pretty stoked!...

Apr
19
2008
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 ...

May
14
2006

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 Deltas are the eastern most region of the Alaska Range. In spring / summer it tak...

Aug
12
2015
Jake on the SW Face of Triplemint. Jake on the SE Face of Montana. Photos for an August ascent of Triplemint Peak in the Talkeetna Mountains. Also some some photos and notes from Montana Peak. ...

Jun
16
2015

Eric high on the SW ridge of Mount Soggy. Photos from ascents of Vertigo Peak and Mount Soggy. ...

Apr
29
2007
The season is upon us. Gone are the weekend mornings of leisurely starts and sleeping in till 7:30 and meeting at 8:30. The sun rises at 5:55 am and sets at 9:57 pm. Although it doesn't make any sense, we argue that because the days are longer we should get up earlier so we can have a longer day. Thus we go to bed on Friday night and set the alar...

Jun
16
2013

With sun and high temps in mind Jake and I set out to try the NW Ridge of Williwaw. We tromped up and over the Ballfield, dropped down next to Williwaw Lake and then trudged up the scree pile that is at the base of the NW Ridge. Then up the steep and exposed NW ridge to the summit of Williwaw. ...


Rock Climbing   (21 Articles)
Oct
20
2012
There is nothing like an east coast fall....

Jul
23
2011

Pix from a day at Hatcher on two stellar routes....

Jun
26
2009
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 places I've been and places I want to go. And s...

Jul
26
2001

Rock climbing around of Canmore, Alberta is the polar opposite of mountain climbing in the Canadian Rockies. The rock is generally solid, there is good protection - and the sport routes are bolted like gym climbs! A great way to pass a day, after being terrified out of your mind on some route in the mountains, is to hit the many sport areas around ...

Jul
20
2001
After years of reading and dreaming about the Bugaboos, Brad and I decided to hike in and try a couple peaks.  The trailhead is about 4 hours away from Calgary and at the end of a 28 mile gravel and mud road.  When you reach the parking lot the first thing you notice is every car surrounded by chicken wire and rocks!  Turns out tha...

Jun
20
2009

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 1 or 2 rope-lengths.  Where you can easily find yo...

Nov
08
2010
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 were cancelled and the news...

Aug
06
1995

...Beyond The Man's hat 1200' of rock intruded into the dawn sky. The sun was just beginning to rise and the east face turning blood red and we lay in the dirt and watched the shadows drip......

Sep
11
2011
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....

Jul
29
2007

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 the sun enjoying the weather... life is goo...

Aug
28
2011
Jake rapping down the "Moss Clods Slab" pitch. Oh yes - this is a classic pitch. A guide to a route that should get done more often but doesn't....

Aug
15
2001

For a final mountaineering adventure for the summer of 2001, Brad and I enlisted Jeb Tilly for an ascent of Mt. Moran via the CMC Route (III, 5.6).  Mt. Moran is a rather isolated peak in Teton National Park and can only be reached via a canoe ride across Leigh Lake.  So we rented a canoe and one afternoon paddled across to the peak whe...

Jun
18
2011
An afternoon on the West Ridge of Pinnacle....

Nov
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 to us. ...

Mar
20
2004
Yvonne and I have been rock climbing in the Shawangunk Mountains (or The Gunks) twice. The climbs in the Gunks are famous for wild overhangs with huge handholds. Even the 5.1 lines have overhangs on them! Both times Yvonne and I visited we climbed at the Near Trapps and concentrated on the super classic steep exposed lines like High Exposure and Sh...

Jul
10
1999

The gift was causing me to slip away. Bob had given us a look into the life of a dreamer who had abandoned all to live in the present. This is the life he was offering - a life outside of the dull realities of work, taxes, family and debt. A life where the days blend into one, where the only reality is the present and the voices ...

Aug
18
2001
While we were in the Tetons in 2001 my old college roommate and climbing partner David West, drive up from Evergreen, Colorado to join me for a climb. We opted for a moderate day route and went and climbed the SW Ridge of Symmetry Spire. The route was straight forward and fun with awesome views of Owen and the Grand. We topped out and were back d...

Aug
10
2001

In the summer of 2001 Brad Hornung and I traveled and climbed for 2 months in Alaska and Canada. After freezing in Alaska and scaring our wits out in Canada we opted to head south to the Tetons to climb warm alpine rock.  Along the way we picked up Brad's sister, Christina, in Calgary and then headed south to Jackson where we met up with...

Sep
03
2011
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 Toto by 10am. Swinging lead...

Jul
04
2001

Well 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 we were soaked. I was wearing a crappy windbreaker ...

Jul
24
2008
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 the question.  Even...


Ice Climbing   (9 Articles)
Feb
03
2013
Layers, rain, renovations, life changes and work have kept me from getting out too much but the light is finally starting to return and with it my motivation for longer days.  So on sunday Jake and I headed out to climb 3 Ring Circus.  The ice was in terrible shape (mongo dinner plates with every swing) but temps in the mid-20s and light ...

Jan
29
2011

I love classics… be it rock, ice, ski descents and even the occasional mellow river run.  So when I heard that the classic ice routes in Middle Glacier Canyon were fatter than usual we dusted off the ice gear and headed south to give one a try.  We hiked into the canyon and checked out all the routes.  Most of the routes l...

Feb
07
2015
Our winter sucks so my wife gave me a choice: Hawaii or Colorado... I chose to go find winter....

Dec
09
2012

You don't ski during an ice year....

Mar
03
2011
I worked all last weekend – so when a sunny day and an ice climbing partner presented themselves mid-week I jumped on the opportunity.  Wayne and I drove down to Portage and found an unoccupied Follies with an easy creek crossing to the base. Follies is a well known local classic that sometimes has an abysmal approach.  For the most...

Feb
14
2013

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....

Nov
09
2013
Jake on the first pitch of the season. "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, 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 hit th...

Oct
15
2007

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 moving boxes and caulking." I tried to sound weak, even upping the...

Jan
01
2002
Yes; believe it or not there is ice in Virginia! Just about every year, if you're willing to spend your free time driving to the coldest, darkest highest points of the state, you can find ice for at least 3-4 weeks out of the year. For those living around Charlottesville there is a small but dedicated contingent of ice climbers who are willing to s...


Skiing
Skiing   (48 Articles)
Feb
25
2012
In two weeks I'll be at six months since my fall. Six long months where I was limited to couch-surfing, swimming, cross country skiing and mellow yo-yo runs (in that order). But Saturday felt different. Good snow and a flexible ankle so we went and went and my ankle never bothered me so we kept going. Up the west face ...

Apr
04
2013

Photo by Eric Parsons. 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....

Apr
22
2012
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 only way to keep it in ch...

Apr
16
2005

On Saturday April 16th, 2005 Yvonne & I drove south to Whittier, a small down that is accessible only via a 3 mile tunnel. The town sits just above Prince William Sound and, although the town itself is ugly - the area is magnificent. We parked just parked just outside the town, ski toured up and over Portage Pass; around Portage Lake, then up t...

Apr
17
2011
We set off to climb and ski Bench Peak. We knew there were tracks on the run we wanted to ski. But we knew of only 4 sets of tracks - and when those tracks are made by ubiquitous local skier "Eric the Viking" and his crew, and those tracks mean you don't have to route find through the wilds of Center and Divide...

Mar
13
2013

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 frozen blob of rime ice that serves as a spotting stance....

Feb
01
2015
Eric down the East Ridge of Big Chief. With good reports filtering in from all over our objective in mind was Big Chief. Of course we wanted to ski the north face - which is everyone's objective when heading back there - but knowing coverage was pretty thin we all kept open minds and knew we had options should the route not go....

Dec
24
2010

On Christmas Eve Eric Parsons and I went down to Turnagain and skied Tincan Proper. This is more or less how it went......

Apr
28
2013
The West Ridge of Explorer Peak ascends the skyline. 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...

Mar
28
2014

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. There were all of 30 skiers who frequented the plac...

Apr
05
2013
Todd exiting Falls Lake Couloir. Falls Lake couloir looked beautiful and untouched. So up and up the perfect splitter couloir to the ridge. Then down boot deep powder and heavy sluff to the valley floor and sun....

Mar
04
2012

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 but our group has been skiing long enough to know that ide...

Mar
03
2013
A good day in Hatcher with friends, sun, snow and stability. The magic combination....

Apr
14
2006

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, climbing gear, glacier travel gear, skis and sleds. Our ori...

Mar
17
2012
Scott Fennell down KCK. Yvonne down Goat Head. It's no secret the snow has been good in the Front Range. While the official NOAA snowtel in midtown is reading 129 inches (just shy of the all time record of 132.8 inches set in the winter of 1954-55) the unofficial ski reports show much much more snow on Hillside and in th...

Dec
12
2010

When you're married to an over-achiever a lot is expected of you. You have to hold down a decent job, keep the house in order, make sure the dog doesn't do things like bite the mailman or eat porcupines, be a semi-decent provider, provide IT services, know how to troubleshoot a condensing boiler, have basic carpentry, el...

Mar
07
2009
The dreary days of November, December, January and February have ended.   While many of my friends embrace the cold deep powder of Alaskan winters, I never seem to totally enjoy the days where we are slogging through deep powder to ski the same runs again and again up and down.  Thus when the sun finally comes out and avalanche con...

Apr
15
2011

Fun weekend outing to Frontier Peak that actually turned out to be Matanuska Peak. More text and pix after the jump....

Apr
09
2011
A latest start, a 10 minute commute to Rabbit Valley and then a 4 mile ski out to the base the base of Ptarmigan. Across Rabbit Creek, up a slope to gain McHugh's long East Ridge. Then a traverse of the East Ridge to the East Summit. Fun turns off the top of the East Summit and then a 2 mile run that drops 2000' all the way down the long North We...

Oct
17
2005

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 hiked up the Crow Pass trail and dropped over...

Mar
07
2013
Maybe you collect or maybe you pay. Still gotta work that 8 hour day. ...

May
02
2014

10 hours before the party and 24 hours before the doctor, Todd and I were walking up a valley with skis and boots strapped to our backs. We walked 5 miles before we transitioned to skis and even then we only got to ski at most 2 miles before transitioning back to boots. We were at the top of the run around noon and collapsed in the 70-degree su...

May
22
2010
On Saturday Todd and I went in and skied Graddaddys.  We weren't able to ski the North couloir (which we were hoping for) due to a huge crown and icey slopes... but it was a beautiful day!   ...

Apr
12
2008

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 started bugging him so Dan (once again fresh from surgery) and E...

Mar
21
2009
We reached Pastoral Pass at noon; the north couloir looked to be in excellent shape so Dan headed up. Eric and I threw our skis / snowboard on our back and followed behind him......

Feb
17
2011

I go up Peak 3 all the time so I'm usually not inspired to take photos. But yesterday was a beautiful warm afternoon that felt very spring like. Skiing wasn't so great - but if you can ski Peak 3 after work in Feburary then I say the skiing is good. Come on spring! Some choice pix are below. Todd booting towards the summit. Ella, Koven & I...

Feb
05
2011
Fresh snow and no wind meant conditions were ideal for local powder… so come late morning we headed up to Rabbit Valley and began the trek in. One run off Peak 4 and one run off Peak 2 and we were back home by 2:30pm just in time for afternoon errands. A beautiful day with some half-way decent conditions for early February Front Range sk...

Mar
14
2009

High pressure and fresh snow makes the front range quite inviting so Yvonne and I opted to stay near town for the weekend and go ski in Rabbit Valley for a day....

Mar
08
2014
A few seconds later he rolled out of view and I slid into the couloir so I could spot; not 2 seconds later I heard the deep whumpf of collapsing snow. Instantly alert, I looked down to see a powder cloud shooting out into the valley......

Mar
15
2009

On Sunday I headed up Rabbit Valley with Dan, Eric, Todd and Pat. The winds were howling on the ridge lines and once again, prospects did not look good! We skied back the base of Ptarmigan, sat around discussing options and then headed up. The normal gully coming off Ptarmigan Pass was in good shape - but as we got higher the snow turned to hard...

Apr
18
2009
Peak 3 season is in full swing here on Hillside. For those who don't know what Peak 3 season is; It's that time of year where every day at 3pm the schoolteachers start calling you and saying "Want to go ski Peak 3? Want to go ski Peak 3?" If you can avoid them you'll get in another hour of work before the 8-4'ers start calling and saying "Want to...

Mar
30
2014

Ptarmigan North Couloir. Photo by Eric Parsons. Sunday was one of those perfect days ......

May
19
2007
Friday night. I drive past Pyramid Peak in Turnagain Pass looking casually up. I wanted to climb it all winter but my friends are snow snobs; they'd rather ski one run of good powder 5 times than skin up a wind hammered ridge. Now that it's spring they're all out doing spring things - like gardening and river rafting. For some reason I want to ge...

Mar
29
2008

On Saturday Todd, Dan, Yvonne and I climbed Pyramid Peak (3378'). Unlike my last ascent this was a mellow ski ascent without any epic and no bushwhacking. I was disappointed; after all my tough talk to Yvonne about what a burly peak this was to climb we waltzed up the entire thing in less than 3 hours....

Apr
25
2010
More pix after the jump......

Apr
03
2010

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 in...

Mar
23
2017
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 ...

Mar
05
2011

Silvertip Creek Ave Video above.  Notes and thoughts on Manitoba after the jump....

Mar
26
2008
Spring is here and with it came a good snow pack and perfect snow for front range skiing. On Sunday Charlie T. and I climbed the West Ridge of Ptarmigan from the Rabbit Valley side. The route up was great - with freshly kicked steps from a party just ahead of us. We climbed both summits and stared down the north couloir; conditions were perfect. ...

Mar
10
2013

Heavy snow and low visibility kept us close to home searching for treed slopes untouched by wind.  Surprisingly enough we found both and spent the day meadow skipping yellow slopes. The only thing we found above treeline was vertigo so we kept the runs short and had fun picking our way through the alders.  Sun crust is forming on SW slope...

Mar
10
2007
My nephew, Matthew, and brother John, came to visit me for Matt's spring break. I'm not sure if they expected balmy spring like temperatures or not - but they certainly didn't get them. Temps hovered in the teens on the good days; on the bad days it was around -20 with 50 mph winds! We spent 8 days skiing down on the Kenai Peninsula; 4 days at T...

Mar
17
2013

Peter above the Arm 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 3000’ above the Arm.  Then across the subpeak searching for powder until fi...

Apr
12
2009
For years I’ve put off writing about the Bomber Traverse due to various reasons... but the primary reason being that I feel it's a very popular trip and I don’t really want to encourage people to head to the area. It's a pretty selfish reason. I love the area - I love the huts, I love the climbing and I don’t w...

Jun
02
2012

It is the winter that never left....

Apr
20
2013
Ignoring tradition, history and local ethics we vow to rename this route. From henceforth it will be called Thin White Mank....

Feb
06
2009

I spent a long weekend skiing in Thompson Pass with Todd, Peter and Amy. We stayed at Matt Kinney's awesome place (Thompson Pass Mountain Chalet). We had relatively decent weather and conditions and were able to ski every day. We drove down on friday afternoon. On Saturday we headed out and skied Gully 1 with Matt. The skiing was decent but it w...

Dec
27
2010
There is a place south of town where it’s always sunny.  Where the sunlight warms a golden bowl even on the darkest days of the year.  Where the snow is deep and the runs are steep.  Where ribs are scraped clean by expert kid snowboarders and couloirs are filled with discarded sluff from passing skiers.   I won...

Mar
29
2009

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 had one day to give it a go before going back to the wait g...


Trekking
Trekking   (24 Articles)
Jun
15
2014
The East and West summits of Mt. Jarvis on a perfect morning. My oldest brother, John, was turning 60 and wanted an Alaska adventure so I started planning......

Mar
30
2012

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. We start driving...

Jun
10
2006
This summer we opted to explore the peaks that lie on the tract of land between Eagle River and Peter's Creek. Most of these are after work and day hikes for Eagle River residents; however since we live in Anchorage I rarely make it out to Eagle River thus I had yet to make it up any of these peaks. The big plus with these peaks is they are all do...

Jul
21
2007

On Saturday, July 21st, Yvonne, Dan Boccia and I climbed the North Ridge of Bard Peak. We drove to Whittier, hiked up Whittier Creek where we forded it near the campground. We then chose a tiny stream that is about 300' downstream from the main fork of Whittier Creek. We picked our way up the stream, wading through it and jumping back and forth a...

Jun
29
2015
... 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 wh...

Aug
27
2006

On August 27th Yvonne and I drove south down to Bird Ridge where we began heading up the trail at noon with Ranger in tow. We made quick progress although our legs were quite stiff after having taken so much time off from hiking due to the almost constant rain Anchorage had experienced since late July. At 1:30 we reached the to...

Sep
13
2015
Looking towards Crow Pass from Paradise Peak on a beautiful September Day. The mountain center left is the West face of Rook Mountain. Notes and photos from 3 early fall days of scrambling around the peaks west of Crow Pass. ...

Aug
01
2009

Mt. Elliot, located on the ridge east of Wolverine, is one of the few peaks in the front range I hadn't hiked up yet.  So when Yvonne managed to drag me away from fishing for a day we headed out for a nice afternoon jaunt. We brought Ranger and his buddy Lucy (Eric and Julie's dog). We hiked up and over the ball field, sto...

Aug
09
2012
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 of the above. At least I made an effort to carry my big camera along the w...

Jul
17
2006

From July 17th - 20th Yvonne and I and 7 friends and family hiked the Grizzly Lakes Traverse in Chugach State Park. We started at Crow Pass, went up Clear Creek and over Steamroller Pass, camped at Archangel Lakes, then went over to Grizzly Lakes, then down Camp Creek to Eagle River and then back to Crow Pass. There were a total of 9 of us -...

Aug
25
2012
Beautiful weather and a day on Jewel Mountain....

Jul
04
2014

Photos and thoughts from a July 4th hike across Kesugi Ridge with dogs and children and giant backpacks....

May
28
2007
On Memorial Day (May 28th), Yvonne and I hiked in and climbed Koktoya....

Dec
31
2011

Better pix after the jump....

Jun
04
2005
On Saturday June 4th 2005 Yvonne, Carrie and I hiked up Penguin Peak. The trail up was in good shape so we cruised up in sneakers. We had killer views and weather! There was a little bit of snow to traverse and some big cornices that the dogs had to test by running across them. (What is it with dogs and cornices?) After about three hours we were on...

Jul
21
2011

Nights like this are why we all love this place we call home....

Jun
07
2015
Notes and photos from Penguin Ridge....

Aug
11
2011

Another absolutely stellar day in South Central Alaska....

Sep
11
2010
On Thunderbird Ridge These are old pictures from a trip that Yvonne, Eric and I did on September 11-12, 2010. I put up a video a couple years ago but never edited the photos, but since it's been an Eklutna summer I decided to go through them and post some of the better ones....

Sep
11
2010

Up from Ram Valley to the ridge E of Significant.  Up Peak 5320'.  Down and up again to the bumb NW of Peeking.  Down to Peters Creek.  Up to the base of the W. Ridge of Bees Heaven for some sleep.  Up the W. Ridge of Bees Heaven then down the East ridge then up the long ridge to Thunderbird Peak.  Then down the loooon...

Dec
25
2007
Pix from a Christmas hike in Shenandoah National Park....

Feb
18
2017

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 / Midd...

Jul
11
2010
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 we opted to hike...

Jul
28
2005

No visit to Teton National Park is complete without a rest day spent driving around Yellowstone in search of animals and geysers. A classic trip is to leave Jackson early and drive the Yellowstone loop with stops at Old Faithful, Geyser Basin and Yellowstone Falls. Below are photographs from a trip Yvonne and I took there in 2005....


Fishing
Fishing   (5 Articles)
Jun
13
2006
Well... 2006 marks my 10th summer and 7th year in Alaska. I've spent many of summer climbing, hiking, rafting and finally rediscovered the joys of fishing. However - until Monday I had never been dipnetting. Dipnetting refers to the harvesting method where you stick a huge net into the water and scoop out fish. You can dipnet for reds, pinks and s...

Jun
16
2007

The season is upon us so I thought I'd share some photos from our Chitina excursion last June. Spring 2007 runoff had caused a number of land slides and some people were saying the road past O'Brien was impassible; so unlike 2006 where I joined the Steers for a redneck 4WD extravaganza, getting back to the canyon via ATV was unl...

Jun
14
2008
The season is upon us... so once again it's time to share photos of the only-in-Alaska tradition of dipnetting. We went to Chitina again; this time we were well prepared and showed up with bikes AND trailers, a campstove. And coffee. However... for all the preparation dipnetting was once again a "world of pain". We had 2 bikes ...

Aug
28
2010

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 kind of iffy at the put in -- foggy, a slight breeze and seas around 2 feet. By the we motored o...

Jun
13
2011
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 so while I am conflicted on givi...


Rivers & Waters
Boating   (15 Articles)
Aug
18
2007
On Saturday, August 18th, Scott Hauser, Mark Selland and I packrafted 20-Mile. Recently this has become the trip to do in Anchorage and much has been written and said about it. We encountered 3 other pack-rafters other than ourselves and know of at least two others that were doing the trip as a weekend trip. I won't say much about it - other tha...

May
29
2010

Birch turning - Upper River Fall 2008 Lingering snow - Upper River Spring 2010 Images from two floats down the Chulitna River - Fall 2008 and Spring 2010....

Oct
21
2015
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. ...

Aug
19
2007

On Sunday Yvonne and I packrafted a short section of Eagle River. We started at the Nature Center and hiked about 6 miles to Icicle Creek. We then floated down to Echo Bend. It was Yvonne's first time out in the rafts and the river was high and quite swift -- with lots and lots of sweepers. She was aprehensive at first but after a while got the h...

Jul
19
2007
Todd & I packrafted Glacier Creek down in Girdwood last night. We floated from the hand tram to pretty much the front porch of Chair 5 (got out, crossed the street and ordered pizza!). River levels are pretty high right now and the section through the canyon was quite fast and fun! I took a swim shortly after putting in, but the river is most...

Sep
10
2005

For an end of summer trip Scott and Becky Hauser invited us out on their parents sailboat - the 42' Contagious. On friday Scott, Becky, Becky's sister Rachel, Yvonne and I drove to Whittier on Friday night and spent the night on the boat in typical Whittier weather - hard driving cold rain. We fully expected a miserable wet week...

Oct
09
2016
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...

Jul
01
2010

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 ...

Dec
27
2007
The forecast for Virginia during Christmas week called for clear sunny skies with highs in the 50 and 60s so I emailed my brothers and made plans to haul my boats down when I visited for Christmas. John drove down from Philly with three boats and wet suits, I showed up with 2 packrafts and one dry-suit and Charlie, ever the procrastinator, showed u...

Aug
26
2007

On Sunday Yvonne and I floated Portage Creek from the Lake to the Seward Highway. The run is about 6 miles and quite mellow. I took my Alpacka Dory and Yvonne took her Yak. Right after the put in there are some mellow rapids - easy enough in a regular packraft by the oars in my dory kept hitting the rocky bottom so I had to change to a kayak padd...

Apr
30
2012
Rule #1: Never let go of your paddle! Photo by Charlie Finley Swimming big water is kind of like falling. If you don't anticipate the moment it's not so bad. One second you're tipping (death grip on the paddle), the next second you're gulping, the third second you remember to cup your mouth to keep the spray out. By the fifth second...

Jul
02
2016

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? Yo...

Jun
30
2011
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 a...

Jul
04
2004

For the long 4th of July 2003 weekend Todd Kelsey invited me on a raft trip down the Tana River. A rafting trip with Todd Kelsey is the polar opposite of my usual mountaineering experience. For starters, since I cannot row I usually sit on the raft and just look around. Second lack of food is never an issue - breakfast is a full...

May
23
2015
Photos from a 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, in my opinion, is perhaps the best kid's river in Southcentral AK....