July 12, 2009

Elliot Hwy MP 29.5: The Hilltop Boulders

While heading to Grapefruit this summer I kept noticing a set of nice looking boulders sitting on a small ridge shortly after one passes the Wickersham Dome trailhead and passes the mile 29 marker. No one I spoke with seemed to have any idea what kind of rock was there, and if it was good for climbing. Later on in August I found out that Ian McRae of Nome, formerly of Fairbanks, had climbed on these years earlier.

Today, I couldn't find a partner so I figured I might as well bushwhack up through the woods to check them out. I hoped that I would find more limestone but, alas, this was not the case. I parked at about mile 29.5 and walked straight up through the trees for about 25 minutes to access this group of boulders. I climbed about ten problems all in the VB to V2 range, on all of the cleaner features (i.e. no or minimal loose rock). The height of these problems range from 10 feet up to about 17 or so at the highest. There are more boulders about 1/2 hour hike from this set which I haven't examined. Many of the boulders have a lot of lichen on the top outs, and you may appreciate having a pad as a few of the landings are rocky. The rock quality is mixed, some excellent and some with loose blocks. A brush would be handy for others (lichen), as would some smaller implements to remove scary loose pieces.

Right: A nice roof with two fun easier problems climbing out.

Below: A short, high quality face (V0).

Right: The Fin boulder hosts several taller, fun problems that are generally cleaner, though they still host lichen. Rocky landings on this side.

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