December 26, 2010


Had another good day out with Charlie Renfro, Sally, Ryan Hokanson, and Kristy DeYong exploring Tributary, uphill from the Hope cutoff (we thought it was Frenchy's). We didn't find wonderful snow conditions but we did have a nice day out nonetheless.

Tributary in relation to the Seward Highway just South of the Hope cutoff.

Sally and Ryan down low, headed up while we still hoped for good snow. Alas, just the bottom 500 feet of the real skiing had good snow, much of the rest having a strong windcrust with sections of the Thanksgiving rain crust rearing its head as well. The terrain on Tributary is actually pretty nice, and we would've been very happy skiers in better conditions.

We were peering across toward Turnagain Pass and remarked that that run over there sure looked nice. Then we realized it was the peak we skied just the other day! This view shows a little of the grandeur of the terrain on TT 43. We skied down right below the arrow down the couloir about 4,000 feet to the flats near the car at the East fork Sixmile Creek bridge. 

December 25, 2010

TT 43

Yesterday was a nice day out in quite cold conditions on TT 43, the cryptically named highest peak in the Turnagain Pass area. The snow conditions were a little beat due to wind, but it was still a fun ski. Here are a few photos from this gorgeous cold day out with my sister Sally, Cortney Kitchen and Tobey Carman.

Skinning toward the upper steeps on TT 43. The initial goal was the narrow couloir left of the summit, but AM problems with skin glue in the -15 F temps kept us from topping out so we skied our line of ascent through the funky snow features just right of the summit.

 Booting up the final couloir below the summit ridge in firm conditions.

Nice midwinter light as we approach the ridge.

Cool snow fins shortly before we started skiing.

Sally and Tobey ready to launch from our transition ledge just below the ridge on TT 43.

Cortney starting out the long run on TT 43, getting first dibs on turns off our transition ledge. All in all, a good day out!

December 23, 2010

Skiing, and The Day the Dog Disappeared (Again)

I just spent a few nice days down at our cabin at Summit Lake on the Kenai Peninsula with my sister Sally, Ryan Hokanson, Cortney Kitchen, Tobey Carman, and three dogs. 

All in all, it was quite a nice trip, with a mini solstice party and a full lunar eclipse. One late afternoon, however, my dear Jenny dog had a conniption, and decided that going down the mountain wasn't a very good idea despite coaching from all of the humans in our group. After much talk, while peering up the mountain from the bottom of the run while she yipped and barked, it was decided that she would be OK overnight and that it didn't make sense to head back up in the dark while not knowing if she would come down voluntarily anyhow. So, aside from her adventure into Cook Inlet last summer trying to find me while commercial fishing, it would be safe to say that Jenny had the most exciting day she's had since I inherited her last February from Robert Boeckmann.

About to head down at sunset near Summit Lake.

The crew getting ready for another nice ski run.

The view out toward Turnagain Pass and the arm, from the top of 'Clive' Peak, as named by our family. I guess this peak is called 'Templeton' on the CNFAIC website Summit Lake map.

'Clive' Peak from the Seward Highway with the nice bowl/couloir run and tracks, and Jenny's chosen bivy spot where she dug a ledge and spent a night. The below video is Jenny's bivy ledge and her eating a giant pile of food and broth we brought her the next day. To top it off, she successfully overcame her conniption and had a good ski run the next day (with some coaching)! Enjoy...

December 18, 2010

Goat Peak

A day out skiing Goat Peak with Ryan Hokanson, my sister Sally, Ben Chriswell, and Cortney Kitchen. Stellar views in every direction. Perhaps Ryan will share a couple pics to share on his site. I hope the winter is treating you all well.

December 16, 2010

More Ice

A visit to Avalon Falls and the Alaska Rock Gym made for a fine day...but no camera!

Here is Sherrie's post on our Avalon day. I kind of felt bad because this time around, Avalon wasn't that icy and we spent most of the journey to the crux pitch kicking steps. Being Ryan's first time on the route, I think we all hoped to treat him to something special, which Avalon often is. Despite the snow, there were still 4 or so really nice steps of significant height that we all soloed. Then, we roped up for the crux pitch which took a few minutes to climb. At the top we decided that heading down from above the crux was better than slogging snow for another thousand feet to the good descent. In a nice year, it would all be ice and we would have been jumping for joy to tag another thousand feet of low angle water ice. But, instead, we rapped and downclimbed and headed to Pizza Man in Eagle River for a schooner and a snack!

December 14, 2010

Back in Southcentral

I got back to Southcentral AK on Saturday and have had a couple fun days out climbing near Anchorage and skiing up at Hiland Rd. since then. Today was mostly about work, but it looks like tomorrow might be about climbing again. Somewhat sad, I forgot my camera in Fairbanks so I will need to pick one up somewhere if I am to share adventures on here. Tomorrow, it looks like ice, but it is brutally windy out this evening. Here's hoping!

December 5, 2010

Slovak Direct Video, Time to go Climbing!

Well, folks, its that time of year again. We finally have something that looks like winter around here in this odd season. It is by far the warmest winter of our three (in process) Fairbanks winters. The coldest nights we have had in our neighborhood have barely broken the -30 F barrier.

Finals time will be desperate for the next 11 days, after which it will be time to climb and ski quite a bit. I've been so busy I've barely been doing any cardio, but I have been doing a lot of plastic pulling the in the hopes that we will find some good conditions for ice and mixed in the lowlands or alpine in Southcentral AK. I will hopefully be climbing and skiing with Ryan Hokanson for ten days or so prior to the 29th, then going to Hawaii with Wendy for a week, and finally hanging out with Andy Sterns in Southcentral for another ten days or so in January. I am looking forward to the break but at the moment need to have my blinders on and plow ahead on the last schoolwork of the semester. If anyone is looking to climb or ski, be in touch.

I watched this video again recently: Jesse Huey with my buddy Mark Westman doing a repeat of the Slovak Direct on the South face of Denali. Enjoy, hope it gets you psyched up to go climbing too...