Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Look at Ninilchik

Ryan and I parked at the Ninilchik Harbor and could barely see what looked like ice on the bluffs. The climbs in the guidebook sounded a lot more compelling than the routes turned out to be. Standing below the climbs they were really unappealing. Rampy grade 1-2 that terminated in at tops 15 feet of steep ice. Total length anywhere from 30-75 feet.


We hemmed and hawed about whether or not to break out the ropes, but in the end just couldn't suck it up and do it. I'm sure the routes were steeper, longer, and harder than they looked, but they just looked so lame.



So we kept driving back to town. It was nice to spend a few days out of Anchorage exploring an area I haven't been. It was good to get out and this trip definitely sparked my motivation to get back in climbing shape.

Maybe this was 20 feet tall, Maybe

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Monday, January 30, 2012

A Short Day at the Bluffs

After a minor morning setback doing crampon repairs, Ryan and I returned to Saltwater Drive, and descended down the bluffs. We walked past all the same climbs and decided to try and top rope Red Line, a beautiful unrelentingly steep amalgamation of thinly bonded icicles. A whole lot of post holing, and one rappel later we were back on the beach, no closer to our goal.

Ryan on the Beach


Neither of us were feeling up to leading Dog Day, although in retrospect......I'm always much braver.

So we climbed back up to the rim on Close to Home, a deceptively awkward, ledgy, single pitch climb, and went back to our sweet little place above the Mermaid Bookstore.


Homer is definitely a worthy weekend destination when the ice is in. I'd like to come back with bigger biceps and more mo-jo and get on the pretty lines.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ice Climbing on the Homer Bluffs

Homer sounded like a glorious destination amidst the negative digit temperatures that have been lurking in the Anchorage area. I've never been there in the winter and word on the great internet was that the ice was in.

We parked at the end of Saltwater drive and ran into a crusty local named Bill and his cleaner more modern counterpart with AMS logos. He told us about a fixed rappel line over the bluffs, it was a pretty straight forward approach.

Looking Down the Bluffs, Two People Walking


Ryan at the Bottom of the Rappel


The approach to the climbs along the beach was as good as it gets. There were 3 stellar climbs off the beach, and a handful of smaller less aesthetic lines all within a 1/2 mile or so.

I've been unmotivated to climb the standard local circuits this winter and am horribly out of shape. I am not an off the couch grade 4 or 5 ice climber...but oh how those lines are the most appealing looking. So we skipped Red Line and Dog Day and instead went up a very fat and perfect Bored Walk. It was a super fun climb, and in direct sunlight...bonus!

Ryan Rappelling Over Bored Walk


With more daylight to play with we did the first pitch of Dog Day, then walked down the beach past the rappel line in and climbed a single pitch grade 3 to get back to the rim. A nice day out with sun, and the sounds of the ocean.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Victoria's Secret

Ah the ice gym has proper ice on it this year!

Victoria's Secret



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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resort Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb

The Whistler Blackcomb ski area is almost incomprehensibly huge. There are 37 lifts that can move up to 60,000 people an hour. I've never skied outside of Alaska, and it was pretty shocking all the terrain that was open at a resort.

Lynn, Ryan and I


We took three different lifts to reach the top of the mountain.


The coolest lift was the Peak to Peak gondola. It stretched 2.3 miles across the valley and connected Blackcomb mountain to Whistler mountain midway. It was amazing.


Between Lynn, Ryan and I, we managed to convince Andrew to try skiing instead of snow boarding. Ryan gave him a tough love lesson, it just reminded me that I'm so glad I learned how to ski when I was young and falling was less painful.


The weather was not ideal while we were there. It rained a lot, snowed a little, and the mountains were mostly obscured the whole time we were there.


Lynn also got a tough love lesson from Ryan...

Lynn and I

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All in all it was super fun and I'm glad I got to experience mega resort style skiing. Thanks to Lynn and Andrew for making it possible, I never would have made it without them!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Vancouver to Whistler BC

Lynn invited Ryan and I along on her and her husband Andrew's ski vacation to Whistler BC. We arrived in Vancouver on the same flight, and spent the day enjoying some of the city.


Jappa Dogs


After a couple stops for coffee, a Jappa Dog, and some take out Indian food, we were back in the mini van and heading to Whistler. It was a little rainy out.

Drive to Whistler


I know I'm on vacation when I'm drinking extra large margaritas with a pink plastic camel as an accessory.

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