Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Awesome Pillar

Me, Bill, Todd and Carina went back the Awesome Valley.  From the parking lot at Victory Road, to  where we parked the snow-go was about 6 miles, then it was about a 4 mile ski up the creek to the base of the Awesome pillar.

Leaving the parking lot

The river was open in places and had a weak fluffy layer of snow over it in others.

The Adventure of the Approach

Collapsing Snow

The pillar is in HUGE this year, it seemed twice as wide as the last time I was here.  
 The Awesome Pillar

Bill Leading 

Never put a dehydrated meal in your pocket!!

Super fun day out with good people in a beautiful spot.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Caribou Creek Keeps on Giving

The day started out with me and Bill trying to get to the gravel creek pillar.  Instead we drove around in circles and got the snow machine stuck in the alders.  Bill pretty much quietly refused to snow shoe the last mile or so to the route.  So instead we had lunch at the Long Rifle lodge and then headed back to Caribou creek.  A snow-go is a game changer...leave the car at problem, when a 4 mile approach takes 15 minutes.

Bill at the base of Robo Pick

It was not warm in the shade

Bill almost at the top
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Caribou Creek

I met up with Bill, Carina and Todd and we all headed back Caribou creek together on Bill's snow-go.  Bill and I climbed what I like to call the Trifecta.  The one on the far left grew smaller and more mellow as we ended up being a single pitch of juicy grade favorite.

The Trifecta: Double Take Area

Bill got to lead the original double take, its seems just the same as it used to, steep.  I got the right climb, and it was great moderate ice.

Bill on the original Double Take

Carina on Double Take

Bill and I were both surprised that we finished all the climbs by about 2, still leaving lots of light in the day.  Carina and Todd came and climbed Double Take, then we all went down to the next climb.  I've never seen China wear in this big before, the top had some nice steep lines and was wide enough that we all climbed relatively at the same time.

China Wear

Beers and burgers at the long rifle lodge was a great end to the day.
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Skiing at Hatcher

It has been a climbing sort of winter, but I was reminded again how good skiing can be!   Super fun day out on Marmot in Hatcher Pass.

Ryan at the base of Marmot Peak

It was so good!
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Quick Canyon Climbing

Now that I live in Eagle River, Eklutna canyon is only 10 minutes away, its hard not to take the quick and easy approach....if you climb all the lines it adds up.

Caitlin Rappelling Annie Greensprings

Caitlin wanted to try leading, and Boonesfarm is about the best first lead out there.  She cruised it.


And a quick session on TJ Swann ended the afternoon.
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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Soltis Family Visits Maui

My Dad is retired and loves the sun, he was the impetus for this quick week trip to Maui.  It was awesome.  We took drives, hung out on the beach, went exploring and hung out more together than we had in years.  

Me, Mike, Joseph and Dad

Driving Around Maui

Me and the Brothers

The Brothers

The coast of Maui alternates between mostly steep rock and beaches.  We entertained ourselves for hours watching the waves crash through the rocks and geyser up.

Getting Splashed

The sign is clearly there for a reason...
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Another Foray into Caribou Creek

Caribou Creek has been amazing this season, and with temps still above zero out there it was an easy decision to go back.   None of us have climbed STD and were all game, Bill won the rosh.

Ryan with The Double Take Area Behind Him 

It was a long, beautiful pitch.  The climbing was steep and fun.

Ryan Following STD 

 The Double Take area was just a short walk away, I was in rotation for the next pitch, and from far way the old Double Take looked steep and unrelenting.  I was feeling happy to pass the lead on, until I stood underneath it, and it looked doable.   It was as steep as it looked from far away, but the ice was reasonable and I made it up with only a little internal whining.
Me, Bill and Ryan at the Top of The Old Double Take 

Bill Rappelling The Old Double Take 

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Caribou Creek Ice Climbing

I've never done this route and have always wanted to, but it hasn't been in stellar shape like this for years.  Bill and I did our customary rosh at the bottom and I won.  I made a belay before the steep pitch, I figured it would be challenging enough for me without rope drag, and it was.


 The second pitch felt steep, I definitely earned it.
Bill Coming up

In retrospect I probably should have continued up another 75 feet to the top of the next step, but at the time with only a couple screws left and pumped arms I just didn't want to do it.  Bill is a considerate leader and set an additional belay so as not to kill me with ice fall, but we climbed it in 4 and rappelled it in 2, just saying.
Start of the Last Pitch

Super fun route and always fun to climb something new, I'm definitely feeling like a crusty old ice climber.

On our way out we saw our friends Jonya climbing STD.  Another route for another day, and also an infrequently formed flow.
Tonya at the top of the pitch and Jon below

We still had some daylight left and Rhythm and blues was looking fat and juicy.  My gumption wasn't up to even rosh for the second pitch, and I guess Bill could tell because he gave me the first pitch without a word.  Plus the first pitch is my favorite on this route.

 Rhythm and Blues

Bill Leading the Top Pitch 

It was dark by the time we got back to the river, and cold enough at the car that the beer froze.

My Frozen Beer Volcano
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Eklutna Canyon with the Ladies

Awesome day out in Eklutna canyon with Merrick and Caitlin.  TJ Swann was in huge and the line up the front was a pumpy warm up.  

Caitlin on TJ Swann

I usually don't feel like a mother hen, but going out with Merrick who is 35 weeks pregnant and still wants to get after it was a little nerve wracking...She definitely was toned down from normal, but the NICU nurse in me was nothing but paranoid!

The Amazing Pregnant Merrick 
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oh My How You've Grown

Temps were cool, with a distinct frosty white line where the valley below was frigid, and above that line, less frigid. Climbing in cold temps requires the ability to keep moving, whether walking between pitches, huge belay ledges or soloing, I'm just not as tough as I used to be.
Bill and I stopped by to meet the neighbors instead of the usual incognito blend into the trees approach.

Eagle River Valley

The ice was fat and thick, completely different than earlier this season.

Me on the first pitch
Thanks to Bill for taking pictures

All the pitches were in huge, and barely a patch of snow between.  My calves felt like they were going to explode front pointing up a thousand feet of low angle ice.

 I won the rosh for the only pitch we roped up for, and chose a soft wet line that was super fun.

 More pitches

It was nice to make it to the top of the route while it was still light.  I think that I finally found the "easy" walk off.  I feel fortunate that we got to do this route so late into the season, the lack of snow this year is awesome for the climbing.

The Descent

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