Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hidden Peak

Adventure beckoned. Yesterday's objective was Hidden Peak, the gnarly peak rising straight up from Hidden Lake. My friend Todd and I briefly discussed climbing Rainbow Peak or Bird Ridge, but he sensed I was in the mood for a run and climb beyond easy. We quickly settled on Hidden Peak. Carl Jung once said, "Man needs difficulties, they are necessary for health." Hidden Peak offers 9 miles of running, hill climbing, scree, steep gullies, rock climbing, route finding, exposure, incredible views, and philosophical contemplation.

The fun began at 4:30 p.m. Todd and Todd picked me up at my house and we set a course for the Glen Alps trailhead. As you can imagine, starting a maximus adventure Saturday night at 4:30 has the potential to create an added adventure element: Darkness. Nevertheless, the three of us adventured out with informed consent.

We arrived safely back to the truck at 10:00 p.m. For some odd reason, I woke up today scraped, exhausted, stiff, foggy, and depleted. I wonder what happened last night? The full answer is hidden within the soul of Hidden Peak. Perhaps my blog followers can deduce a portion of the answer from the photographs!

Hidden Peak can barely been seen in the distance. It is a barbed high point along a jagged ridge in between The Ramp and O'Malley Peak.

Todd 1 and Todd 2. All smiles on a glorious Fall day in Anchorage. I'm glad we went out yesterday, because today (9.26.10), God blessed us with light snowfall. Once the clouds clear, undoubtedly there will be termination dust in the mountains.

The route up Hidden commences with scree and then climbs the somewhat obvious gully in the middle of the picture.

A rocky reflection in Hidden Lake. Hints of what's to come.

Hidden Peak provides two fantastic options: Steep and steeper. We elected for a spicy combination of both.

Fueling up with GU, shot blocks, and energy bars in preparation for fun.

Todd Kasteler leading the way.

Todd engaged in a series of strong climbing moves and no fear.

Todd is safely off the first series of steep rocks and powering his way up the main gully.


Todd from the flatlands making a difficult mountain in Anchorage look easy.

Todd Kasteler. Practising no fear, part II.

I elected to use the cracks to make my way up the rocks. It seemed safer to me.

The sun is beginning to set. The goal is to get to the summit and down off the cliff bands before it gets dark...

I'm posing with Williwaw Lakes and exposure. Almost to the summit! From this position, I can hear the wind howling and rifling through the mountains.

Summit! The views from Hidden are incredible. There are no words or pictures that can remotely do the experience justice. You just have to believe me.

TK, awesome man!

Todd relishing in the elements and sensations of Hidden Peak summit.

The crew.

Time to get off the summit and down before it gets too dark.

Back down safely. The descent proved interesting and fulfilling. Like I said earlier, the full answer is hidden within the soul of Hidden Peak.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

North Suicide Peak

Adventure beckoned. The objective was the West ridge of North Suicide Peak. Todd, Forrest, and I decided to go steep and avoid the word standard. The West ridge goes straight up the face of North Suicide and provides intelligent climbers the opportunity for vertical fun. The sun was shining and blue skies prevalent. Running and climbing without harsh weather elements is somewhat unusual living in Alaska. A person comes to expect diabolical weather conditions. Well, not today. We had a brilliant day in Anchorage!

The first picture in this adventure collection offers a glimpse of the West ridge rising up from Rabbit Lake. All smiles and no fear.

Jason, Forrest, and Todd participating in a group photo with their friend N. Suicide.

Now that the 5 mile approach run is over, the real adventure commences.

Todd Kasteler rock climbing his way up the ridge.

Todd in action. Don't fall!

I'm carefully picking my way up steep rock. Thank God the rocks were dry and the visibility was crystal clear. It is amazing how the weather can significantly influence an adventure.

Forrest is perched on a nifty rock outcropping.

Todd smells the summit and turns on his crank mode.

I had no intention of actually climbing this rock. My goal was to create an impressive and artistic move for my blog followers...


Forrest is slithering his way around one of the last obstacles to the summit.

Objective met. Fulfilled. An impressive accomplishment. Todd is making it official as he signs the summit register.

Two good friends hanging out at 5,065 feet. Awesome!

South Suicide Peak as seen from the Summit of North Suicide Peak.

Now that summit photos are finished, the next stage begins: The descent. We decided to blast down Nausea Gully.

Nausea Gully snakes its way through the heart of N. Suicide. With multiple people running down a steep and rocky gully, rock fall is always an alarming concern. Luckily, other than a few superficial cuts and scrapes, we all made it up and down the mountain safely. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon! I will even make a way in the wilderness. Isaiah 43:19