Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ridge to Summit

Adventure beckoned. Yesterday was a busy day around the house, so I compacted a day's worth of adventure into 3 hours. Swift, Tundra, and I followed the ridge from Flatop over to Ptarmigan Pass, up to the summit of Ptarmigan Peak, down to the Rabbit Creek Trail, and back to the truck. Not a bad way to spend 3 hours!

Cantwell Adventure Run

Adventure beckoned. The goal was to explore the Cantwell area. Tundra, Swift, and I adventured out into the wild with no particular game plan or desired outcome. We ran through the beautiful tundra, down to a wonderful river, up steep cliffs, and over plush blueberry patches. What a great day! 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Archangel Valley

Adventure beckoned. Jason II, Tundra, Swift, and I hiked up into Archangel Valley yesterday. We had beautiful weather and scenery. Amen! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nagoon Mountain & Twentymile River

Adventure beckoned. After last week's epic adventure into Crow Pass, my friend Todd Kasteler and I decided to crank out another adventure with the added bonus of packrafting. Our plan was to run up into Berry Pass, climb Nagoon Mountain, and packraft out on the Twentymile River. Leaving the Alyeska Prince Hotel at 8:15 with heavier packs than normal and clear skies, we quickly progressed up the Winner Creek Trail to Berry Pass. After a brief reconnaissance of the area, including the deteriorating weather, we made our way up the North East ridge towards Nagoon Mountain. The route consisted of steep loose scree, exposure, and mild route finding. The crux of the route was a sharp exposed drop-off almost 100 feet from the summit. Navigating scree, broken rocks, and exposure, Todd and I very slowly managed our nerves. It is crazy how one small section can take almost 45-minutes to negotiate! Safely down the crux, we blasted our way up to the summit, took photos, enjoyed the cloud covered "views" and made our way back down to Berry Pass for the next phase of the adventure... 

Below is a photo of the last sections of Nagoon Mountain.       

Below are two photos I took while waiting for Todd to negotiate the crux of the climb. The views were spectacular! Totally wild land.

Todd carefully negotiating the perilous crux.

The summit of Nagoon Mountain! The views were pretty much nonexistent.

The clear skies and nice weather we had at the start of the run unfortunately turned into high cold winds and fast approaching rain clouds.

Making our way off the mountain and back down into the lush green Berry Pass, Todd and I began the long decent to Twentymile River for the packrafting phase of the adventure.

Gearing up and refueling for the river. Let the good times continue!

After packrafting for several hours and problem solving challenges, we finally concluded our day at 7:45 p.m. for a total of 11 hours 30 minutes of adventure. Todd, thanks for a great one and God, thanks for the yellow paddle! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crow Peak and Raggedtop Mountain

Adventure beckoned. Todd Kasteler and I headed out to Crow Pass to climb mountains. The objective was Crow Peak (5953') and Raggedtop Mountain (5215'). With a thirst for adventure, stellar weather, and a map, we made our way into a mountain runner's playground. From the Crow Pass trailhead, we were standing on the summit of Crow Peak in just over 2 hours. After taking a variety of summit poses in between high fives, we quickly made our descent to the low point between Crow Peak and Magpie Peak. From there, the adventure truly commenced.   

Standing on the summit of Crow Peak, Raggedtop Mountain can be seen in the distance peaking out of the clouds. Our plan was to descend Crow Peak and then climb up the snow face directly towards Magpie Peak. It would have probably been easier to simply run back towards Crow Pass and tackle Raggedtop from a different direction, but it certainly wouldn't have been as fun, physically demanding, or thrilling.

Todd leading the route up the steep snow wall. Nice work!

Looking back at Crow Peak. Our route ascended the ridgeline.

After getting within a few hundred yards of Magpie Peak proper, Todd and I blasted down steep loose scree and then traversed, sidehilling, all the way to The Cache. From The Cache, we made our way through the clouds to a ridgeline. Although in fog and confronted with several hundred feet of steep rocks and uncertain territory, we methodically climbed our way towards the summit one rock at a time. The photo belows attempts to capture our mood and the remaining road ahead to the summit. 

After making our way out of the clouds at about 5,000 feet, we finally stood on the summit of Raggedtop Mountain. The views were incredible!

Todd in a zen moment on a difficult peak after a long haul. Glorious!