Monday, December 31, 2007

The Hillside Pillars....I love it There!

I'm never let down by a day out at the Hillside Pillars. Today was no exception. Cassie and I did both the left and right pillars. The ice was super brittle today despite the warm temperatures. Those of you who have dodged ice below me know that I am no dainty climber, I'm destructive with ice tools. But today was particularly incredible, I knocked down some BIG pieces, I'm talking torso size chunks. Luckily Cassie was nimble and managed to go unscathed by my carnage.

Cassie on the right pillar

There was this move about half way up that was so awkward feeling. I always feel a little more awkward when I lead, but this was notably awkward. I feel a bit devious to say this, but I was glad Cassie made it look awkward too!

Cassie doing the butt smear

Thank goodness for headlamps, when it gets dark so dang early they are just as essential as chocolate. This route is super friendly for night time descents.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Frozen Face

This picture is a little out of order, but I haven't figured out a way to easily edit with Blogger. Bill took this at the top of Hookers a couple weeks ago. When I topped out into whirling spindrift my eyes literally got mostly frozen shut and my face was covered with ice, the ridiculousness of it all made me smile!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Hunter Creek

I have never gotton so wet on a climb before. I reached a new water saturation point today. If I could have figured a way to rig an umbrella above my head I would have been a happy girl. But instead I had water running into my sleeves, down my shirt, pouring onto my helmet and blinding me every time I looked up. It was wet!!

Bill Rapelling down Hollowhead

Tonya and Bill doing the Spicy River Traverse


Tonya leading Lost Chord

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Caribou Creek

I love going out to Caribou creek, its a long burly day in many ways. First you have to get up early, drive 2+ hours, hike or ski 2 hours, and then finally you arrive at the climbs, which are also BIG. At least in comparison to most ice immediately around the Anchorage Area.
Bill and I had a fantastic day. I like to climb by the Ro-sham-bo method aka rock, paper, or scissors and let fate decide who wins the rosh. I was staring up at the first pitch of Cantellya making my peace with leading it, then went back to where Bill was and lost the rosh....I have this weird karma with roshing.....its a bit ass backwards, whenever I want to win the rosh I don't, and pitches that I dread leading the most, I typically win the rosh on....fate seems to want to make me be a better climber.

I took pictures of most of the climbs, click on the album to see them!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Spruce Pitch

The Eagle River valley was in fine shape yesterday. Lots of ice in the area. We ended up climbing spruce pitch. It was fun. Hollow Icicle looked spicy, and Three Ring Circus looked cruiser.

David Climbing

David and I


The beautiful Eagle River Valley

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This is my Picassa Link if you want to check out more pictures

Spruce Pitch

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunrise at Ten Am

It was a beautiful day today. Warm, no wind, and partly blue skies. I went to the Hillside pilalrs again. The bottom pitches have gotten a lot bigger, but the upper pitches haven't changed significantly since I was there last. I don't know how I went the whole day and did not take one picture of the climbs, they were really pretty.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

The Winter Solstice

I took this picture up at Glenn Alps this afternoon when I went cross country skiing. Its about 4:30pm and the moon was bright above the mountains. Today is officially our shortest day of light all year. I'm so excited to have the sun come back in my life for more than 5 hours and 28 minutes and two seconds!!!! The upswing is here!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


I thought I was going to be cold all day today, but down in Portage there was a thick layer of clouds, minimal wind, and this soft falling snow that made everything more friendly.

Bill walking toward the climb. Indecision is first and biggest smear of ice.


The first pitch unfortunately had a large pool of water around the majority of the base. Luckily there was a solid area on the far right of the climb, I have no idea how deep that pool is. Its so black you just can't tell. Plus it was making those haunting, scary, echoing, booming noises. The top of this pitch had a festive water spout, but luckily again for me there was just enough ice on the side. I won the rosh!


Most of the upper pitches were cruzey grade 2-3ish. There was a ton of ice!


My standard end of the day self portrait.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lucky Man

Ryan and I got a late start today and weren't quite sure where we were going till we got there. It was frigid out today, and that always makes ice climbing decisions more complex.

Ryan's Muffin Mouth

We ended up going back Middle Glacier Canyon. Lucky Man is on the right and is the biggest white line in the picture below. It only looked like one full pitch, but it ended up being two pitches.

Ry won the rosh for the first pitch, which was super fun. But I got the upper pitch that had a great smear of hero ice on it. It was gloriously gushy, especially considering it was probably close to 0 degrees today.....BBRRRRRrrrrrr!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Arctic Valley Inversion

I wore two pairs of long underwear today in anticipation of freezing my butt off. But to my surprise there was a temperature inversion and it was warmer up there than in Anchorage. The snow of the front side left a lot to be desired but the backside was great.

It was really pretty out today.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Backyard Climb

This is my winter time version of gym climbing! Minutes from the house, short, steep and easily accessible! I'm so excited to have found it.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007


Do you remember the wheres Waldo books? Well the person in this picture doesn't have a beret but he does have a red coat. Can you see him?

It wasn't snowing as hard as it was blowing the snow. My eyelashes almost got frozen together when I topped out, soft cold snow was just ripping down the climb.

Self Portrait!

At the start of the second pitch Bill gave himself some good luck... can you see the red? It didn't slow him down. This pitch was steep and funky but he cruised it.

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To see a few more pics check out my album

The Backside of Gordon Lyon

Stellar day skiing. Blue skies, soft snow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top of Kid's Corner

Today was Fantastic! I love to climb easy ice in beautiful canyons when it is in the mid twenties. It was just what I was looking for in my second day out this year. I felt like half the retard I did my first time out, so I'm looking forward to the next time when I could potentially remember how to climb! By the way if you were looking at my helmet, this is a one of a kind Raina Panarease Special. I love it!
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Caribou Creek: Kid's Corner

It was pretty fantastic to get out of the car to blue skies and not freeze my ass off in Caribou Creek. It is December after all. There have been many silly cold days back here.

The light on the mountains just made them look so lovely. The sun is rising at about 10 right now, and setting at around 3:45.

This is my friend Doug walking up to the base of the second pitch. This climb just steps up through a steep slot coming down the mountain. There are glorious alder belays, and cool scenery between pitches.

This is Doug leading the bottom of the second pitch. After this it steps up to one more full pitch. The conditions are great right now. The ice is very friendly, I felt like a hero!

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