Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Walk Through the Woods Into Winter

It was dreary in town with misty rain, but it was cold and snowing in the mountains!

George Anne

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Black Lake Walk

Jon and I were up early skiing over rocks down the Glen Alps trail by headlamp. Despite our best intentions and efforts to go climbing the relentless wind and lack of ice on the route defeated us.

The Football Field


There was a time that I would have climbed the 30 feet of ice that's called blue something or another, but with age comes experience and the knowledge of how cold belaying in spindrift is. Jon was in agreement, and we bailed back the way we came.

Black Lake


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spring Fling October Style

Ry and I were finally on the ball our last day. I was super motivated to climb before we had to drive back to town. We debated White Knight briefly and then decided for the closer and longer option up Spring Fling.

It was FREEZING out when we left the car. I hiked with my gortex, super puff, and face warmer. The lodge owners said -7 and I believe them!

Ryan Heading Up to Spring Fling


Why is it that most ice climbs are steeper and harder than they look? I'm definitely not at my best right now! The ledges I spied from below in reality were too down-sloping and steep to get much purchase on. I just got the new black diamond spinner leashes, and still have to say that for steeper pure ice, leashes save my arms and offer more security. I do like leash-less for mixed, or grade 3 and lower, and for how easy it is to switch tools to move around broken bulges or rocks.

Pitch One


If I could climb routes like this every day I would be satisfied forever. The views were gorgeous, the steep rock walls truly make it feel impressive, and the ice climbing was interesting. This is my favorite style of climb, so fun it makes me giddy.

Ryan Heading up to the Belay


We decided to try our luck at rappelling again since our ropes weren't frozen and it seemed like a straighter shot v-thread practice is invaluable ; )

Ryan Rappelling

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It was a quick and easy rappel, and we were back to the care before dark and in Anchorage by midnight. Awesome day out!!!

Slide Show!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

White Mountain Exploration

Another late night followed by another late start. We were both feeling a little bit worked and decided it would be a good day for a little exploration. We parked at the end of the airstrip where all the houses are at the end of the open road.

White Mountain


We weren't really sure where we were heading, so we kept going down the road our eye on what looked like an ice climb. We found a four wheeler trail that went up to Ramble mine and then cut across the mountain above treeline till we found the gulley we thought held ice.

Rambler Mine


Heading up to White Knight


There was no way we could do it before dark, it looked mellow till the last pitch which stood steep. Next time.

White Knight...I think

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Slide Show


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Corridor..

Ryan and I pulled into the Paradise lodge cabin at about 1 am, it took us about 6 hrs to drive up. We were in the small cabin this time, but it was perfect, the toyo stove had it at 77 degrees within ten minutes! Loving it.

We got a bit of a late start due to coming in so late, and then Ry's car broke on the way to climb. We macguyverd a wire back together with some duct tape and secured the battery, and amazingly enough the car started!

Finally we parked at Jack creek, officially now a part of the crack of noon club.

Awesome Tundra Walking


It took about an hour to get into the corridor and I was surprised at all the drips coming off the walls. A beautiful place for sure.

In the Corridor


We looked at the climb, a wing and a prayer, but the top pitch looked pretty ugly, and definitely not like something I wanted to be my first lead of the year. I like to warm up to ice climbing slowly.

The climb in the corridor was thick, wet and overall just lovely. The only downside to wet ice, is frozen ropes...which really suck.

Ry at the Base of a Step


We got to the top of route at about 6pm, just as the sun was leaving alpenglow on the mountains. We knew we would be in the dark soon, so we sat at the top for a little while and enjoyed the view.

Topping Out at Sunset

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The last time I did this route I walked off across the mountain and down by spring fling. We decided to try and rap the route instead this time, and I think it would have been ok, except our ropes were frozen. It was a little dodgy, but overall fine for the rappel, but pulling the ropes around corners didn't go so great. It took us as long to get down as up, and it was much harder!!



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ski Tracks is Only a Name

Bill and I tried to do ski tracks on Ptarmigan Peak last year but a series of events lead to an early bail on the climb, and we were both game to go back. This time we were up and out the door even earlier than usual, and were riding our bikes over a dusting of snow by headlamp.

I have to say I'm a bit confused why this route is called ski tracks....I just couldn't see myself ever skiing this route...maybe with more snow it looks like ski tracks? Feel free to comment if you've climbed it : )

Looking Up


Pitch 1: Bill Scratchin it Up


The climbing was very interesting. I like it even though it can be very tenuous and awkward. I think I got as pumped from trying to bang pitons out as I did climbing, but I was still psyched Bill was happy to lead all the pitches. Definitely not quite there on this terrain yet.

Top of Pitch 1


I had dreamed, but never really thought we would get to climb ice. It was thin, but surprisingly sticky, a really aesthetic line.

Beautiful Ice Pitch

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I ended up finishing the finishing the last pitch by headlamp, and then we went up and over the peak, down to Ptarmigan Pass, then back on the bikes. Awesome day out, it felt like full on winter up there.

Note to Self: Definitely time for double long undies and hand warmers.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mile High Toward Mt. Magnificent

Ryan bought property in Eagle River up off mile high rd. We drove up there and conveniently enough his property line intersects the trail that goes up there. It was beautiful, we had a great hike out toward Mt. Magnificent.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rabbit Lake

It looks like summer but there was some frozen ice in the sun on the trail...


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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back to the Lowlands

This picture kind of says it all...stinging snow and time to go.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Amulet Peak Attempt

The weather was a bit iffy from the get go. Some new snow had fallen through the night and our minds contemplated the avalanche hazards. We left the tent (seen in the bottom right of the photo below) dressed in our puffy best with no expectations of the day ahead.


The glacier was covered by 8-12 inches of fresh snow and it seemed prudent to rope up. It was slow travel as my paranoia increased and I only had a small ice axe to probe with....


Eventually we wallowed our way to the base of the real uphill bit...If we had been just a little earlier we would have front pointed up some nice alpine ice, instead we alternated between walking, wallowing, and swimming using a shovel like fins. Wish I had my skis!!


It was fairly slow hard travel. The clouds, wind and snow blew in, and more than once we wondered if we should turn around. In the end we gained the ridge 300 vertical feet below the summit as the light came to a close and the snow fall picked up. Instead of the dream ramp to the top there were steep snow covered rocks. We were both sure this was the right place to bail.

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Beautiful area, lots to do, just got to get the right conditions.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Walking to Bill's Backyard Valley

I went out to Bill and Betsy's yurt, stayed the night, woke up early and went on a walk through the woods, around a lake, up a hill...


Through a river...
Photo By: Bill Billmier


Back through the trees, and up a creek...
Photo By: Bill Billmier


And into snowline!! Beautiful day, lots of new bruise acquisitions and appreciation of tundra!


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Slide Show of Bill and My Pics