January 14, 2010

Shocker: Alpinist Seen Bolting at Kenai Peninsula Crag

Recently, on the Kenai Peninsula, a triumphant  homunculus with a sport-climbing physique was seen wielding a drill upon the twitching carcass of one unkempt Alaskan alpinist, having crawled from within the belly of said beast. Gore aside, the end results were not entirely unpleasant.

I have never sought out reasons for the placement of bolts. But, this December I was down on the peninsula looking at one of my oft peered-at crags and noticed that the dribbles that sometimes form had turned into full fledged mixed and ice climbs.

Over the course of ten days, I cycled through four climbing partners to clean and establish several new mixed lines at the Hatchery Wall near Trail Lake, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska and climb some local ice. None of these lines are  very difficult, but they are a lot of fun and the current condition of the crag presents several new options for the excited winter climber burnt out on the meager options offered in this warm yet relatively dry winter season. In addition to cleaning, bolting, and redpointing a couple of steeper mixed gear lines, we also developed a couple easier traditional lines and installed anchors in several places so that the crag should be relatively user friendly for those interested in seeing what it has to offer.

Above right: On the first ascent of Orion (M6+ish WI4). Photo: Sam Herreid.

Many thanks to Todd Helgeson and Ryan Hokanson for the use of their drills. And, many thanks to Peter Illig, Ryan Hokanson, Sam Herreid, and Jon Cobb for their belays, feedback, and help in the development of the crag. Thanks to Clint Helander for offering up his bolts to be placed at the crag! It was a pleasure climbing at the Hatchery Wall, and visiting Victor Creek with Sam Herreid for an ascent of the classic King's Beard, which we found in excellent condition. At some point in the next several days, I will develop a photo topo with basic information about the crag for those interested in heading out to repeat some of the more often formed pure ice lines or the new mixed rigs. For now, enjoy these photos of a couple of climbs that we did while hanging out at my cabin.

The new lines need repeats to determine  consensus grades, so please go repeat them and let me know what you think at alpineessence at gmail.com .

Above left: During an ascent of the classic King's Beard in Victor Creek (WI5+). Photo: Sam Herreid.

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