Monday, May 26, 2008

Eklutna Lake Bike Ride

Lynn and I went and biked around Eklutna Lake to pick up some stuff I had left at the Serenity Falls Cabin. I had no idea what a biker my friend Lynn is....She had bike shorts, gloves, the helmet, the back pack...she looked super official. I'm a beginner biker....although I have always ridden a bike, I've never properly learned how they work and need to be maintained. I don't want to embaress myself further, but I'll just say Lynn taught me some very important basic bike riding concepts!

Lynn the Biker Chick


Scenic Scenery


Lynn and I Self Portrait Style


Erosian in Action

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So not only am I not a good biker, but my body doesn't really likes biking really kicks my butt....literally, my bones still feel bruised. My internal whine definitely popped out a few times....

Eklutna Traverse: Day Four

Another day dawned bright and clear...the boys were getting itchy to get off the glacier and were ready to go try ice climbing, sea kayaking and beer drinking...not bad alternatives. : ) So we decided to get up early and allow time to make it out to either the Nordic center or Goat ridge.

Alongside the rock outcrop that Han's Hut sits on is a big half moon scoop of snowy glacier. The walls of it are smooth and steep and collect great shadows. Very scenic.

Wind Scoop


The mountain club of alaska or volunteers from there have done a lot of work on Han's Hut. The inside looked like it had gotten a bright fresh coat of paint and the floor looked clean enough to eat off... Plus the outside was a variation on my new favorite color, pink!

Hans Hut


Skiing from Han's hut was pretty great. We started out with our skins off and made good time back onto the glacier. From there we roped up and only skinned about 1/2 mile before we started to trend consistently downward...a nice reprieve from the uphill we took off our skins, but this time stayed on the rope, and snow plowed in unison about 2,500 ft down the glacier....Our thighs were burning! Holding the snow plow in glacier travel formation is no easy feat with a large pack!

Glacier Touring


We were below Rosies Roost at 10:30 in the morning and decided that we wanted to continue traveling and On our way up the last mountain we saw a kite skier and watched the wind tow him up and down the glacier as we slowly skinned was pretty awesome to see.

Kite Skier

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A couple hours later we reached the top of the glacier....called Alpine Air and within minutes we were skiing to the Nordic hut at top speeds to catch the heli. I have to say that is the way to go...

Our Gear! barrels


Will, Me, and Andy

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Although its a bit strange after spending four days way out of touch on a glacier to be transported back to green, sunny, girdwood and decisions about where to eat, and how to get there are immediately can't be more than a 7 minute flight....then Bam! Back in civilization.

Over all a fantastic trip with outstanding weather. I have to say that I think this is one of the most worthy trips in the Anchorage area. The mountains are spectacular, the travel interesting and the huts add a little luxury.

Eklutna Traverse: Day Three

Pitchler's Perch is cozy, I slept great up in the loft, far away from the mosquitos below in the valley. Another beautiful morning greated us, and after a leisurely breakfast we got back on the glacier.

Will and Andy Skiing Toward the Glacier


Distance is a little tricky to estimate on the glacier what looks like 10 minutes away can take an hour to get too.

Tracks Toward White Out Pass


Looking back Toward White Out Pass


Animal Tracks Crossing the Glacier

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Andy Enjoying the Sun


Pretty Picture


View From the Han's Hut


Me Self Portrait Style!

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Eklutna Traverse: Day Two

After a restless night in the hut due to it being a mosquito breeding ground, I popped out of bed at 7am, ready to start the day. Fresh eggs, bacon, and hashbrowns eased my irritated, sleepless night woes, and I was excited to begin my day.

Early Morning Rock Hopping


It is a surprising distance to the glacier from the Serenity Falls Hut. I was told that GPS measurements from 1997 to 2007 showed the toe of the glacier had retreated 1 mile.

Will and Andy


Beautiful Glacially Carved Valley

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The Toe of the Eklutna Glacier


The toe of the glacier kind of has a rampy forlorn look to it. Instead of the gaping maws with brilliant blue ice, it was dirt streaked white, with baby blue accents. As far as ease of glacier travel, I definitely prefer this tamed down version....We put our skins on our skis straight from the gravel bar onto the glacier. Skinning is so much better than walking.

Will and Andy Skinning Up

Andy with a Big Chugach Peak

Pitchler's Perch is a fantastic Hut that sits up off the side of the Eklutna Glacier. The views from the Hut are gorgeous.

Pitchlers Perch with Peril Peak in the Background

Another Fantastic View from the Hut

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eklutna Traverse: Day One

I have a bit of history with the Eklutna traverse....this is the first trip Ryan and I did together, way back in 2002, and if you ask him, this is where he fell in love with me. We foolishly decided to multi sport it, trying to combine the traverse with ice climbing....READ: HEAVY, HEAVY, metal gear, and glacier slogging. Although we did not sink one ice screw the whole trip, we carried a full rack, with 2 ropes, tools, and crampons up and over the traverse....BRUTAL!!! This is the trip that I learned a valuable lesson in trying to combine activities, when I learned that "more" is really synonymous with "heavier". Still both being in the "honeymoon" phase of our relationship I was impressed with Ryan's manly sled towing capabilities while he was enamoured by my general lack of complaining as we slogged with HEAVY loads and ended up going down the wrong gully and double carrying our load back up that 1,000 foot gully ....because he was 99% sure... Oh the memories!

When Matt asked me if I would be interested in doing this trip, I was immediately all about it. This time I swore my pack would be lighter, I wouldn't tow a sled of climbing gear and I definitely wasn't going down the wrong gully again!

From the get go ET: 2008, started out much differently. A four wheeler assisted our heavy packs with skis and boots around the Eklutna lake, while we leisurely walked with our day packs.

Bold Peak (top ten favorite peaks)


The Gorgeous Eklutna Lake


After about a four hour walk we ended up at the Serenity Falls hut, probably the most beautiful hut in the whole park. Will and Andy decided that a fire was in order for the evening, and set out collecting and chopping wood with gusto.

Will the Wood Chopper

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Friday, May 23, 2008

I Love Pack Rafting

I had a really cool opportunity last week to float the Matanuska River from Glacier Park to King Mountain Lodge with some friends. I was really psyched to go because they were using two big rafts and a kayak, so I figured there was plenty of people out and about to rescue me when I flipped my boat...have I mentioned what a novice pack rafter I am!

Me and the Big Boats


What I love about packrafting is the smile that is glued to my face because of how absurd it feels to float about in something that looks like a pool toy....but they totally work! I wish I could have taken pictures of some of the bigger waves I went through, but I was pretty focused on staying in my boat!

Me and My Pool Toy


I defintitely could not have done this trip without a drysuit, so a special thanks to Kellie for hooking me up!! I am so not into suffering, especially hypothermia, and I pretty much sat in glacier water all day as my little raft continuously took on more water, then I would dump in out and it would all start over!

The View from My Boat


We totally lucked out with the weather as well. It felt like the rain storm was following us the whole way down the river, but the most we got was a few sprinkles.

A Look Up River

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I now feel totally inspired to do more packrafting. It is a pretty amazing way to travel, and the potential for new areas of exploration are huge!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Matanuska Glacier

I have to say that I have a pretty cool job working for The Ascending Path. I've been wanting to check out the Matanuska glacier for a while now, and so I was pretty psyched to be able to take clients climbing up there. It has changed SO much since the last time I was out there. The lateral morraines are sqeezing the white out of the glacier. There is a rock band that I had never seen before, and the lake that has been in front of the first ice fall for years is gone. I love glaciers, I find them incredibly fascinating, so it was a treat to be able to have fun at work!

Standard Self Portrait


Clients with the Ice Fall in the Background


I also have to say what I love about The Ascending Path is the small groups. Its just such a more personal day when I only have 3 clients. I get to know all of them, get to talk in a normal voice instead of trying to project to a big audience, and it also gives me and them more flexibility with the day.

A Huge Group...glad that wasn't me!

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Beautiful Spring Tour

Yesterday morning I went and did the Dew Mound loop in Eagle River with Lynn. It felt like summer. I was hot, wore a tank top, and almost lost my shoe in the mud. Afterward I went to work for a few hours and when I got off it was just too beautiful to sit I went to my favorite local ski area, Arctic Valley.

I set off with grand ambitions, but those dissipated as the snow around me became more isothermic than it had been the day before, and I realized that maybe my body was tired from running even if my head wasn't satisfied.

I ended up settling for a trip up to Rendevous Peak. The views from there were worth the hour cimb. This is a good look down a valley that I would like to spend a lot more time in this summer.

South Fork of Eagle River

What can I say...its mid May, great time to make snow men!

The Lovely Sleeping Lady

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tenderfoot Area

When I woke up on Saturday it was gorgeous in Anchorage...I even put on sun screen before I left the house in anticipation of the sun burn I would get. Every time I drive from sunny Anchorage down around the corner of Turnagain Arm I am amazed at how two areas that are so close can have a completely different weather system. Gone was the sun, clouds dominated the skies, grey, low, and stormy.

Kellie and I

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Optimism can carry me pretty far along a day. I can be blown over by the wind, blinded by the clouds, and still hold on to hope that it might get sunny out later....the times that I have been rewarded by persevering in my optimism tend to make up for days when the reality of the situation just won't go away.

It looked so awesome how the wind would come up around Kellie, and create this ethereal white sideways wall around her...I wish my camera could have captured the tendrils of white better, but I can still see them in my mind....



Its been so long since I have gone skiing in the mountains that even though I'm usually a huge ski snob (not powder, not going) it just felt good to be outside moving up the mountains by my own power. I feel so easily satisfied by just being outside.
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