Thursday, December 31, 2009

December backcountry

 December around Anchorage has been pleasantly mild.  We have plenty of snow, and the backcountry is excellent at elevations above the rain crust.  The high country of the Kenai mountains is ripe for some big descents. 

This little cornice chunk was kicked loose by some skiers on the ridge.  It was a good size for testing the slope.

Cody skiing the south face of Tincan.

Paula hiking up peak 3 on a balmy inversion afternoon.  Temperatures at the top were probably in the high 30s with single digits in town.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bird creek packrafting

We faithfully followed Cody up to the lower canyon of Bird Creek. It was the last week of October, getting cold but perfect conditions for a low water run. Everyone nailed the drops. Zero swims with 4 people.

New Zealand

The pinnacles, Coromandel

We flew over to Auckland from Sydney and spent the remainder of our trip on the North Island. Rain was certainly a factor: our plan to climb mt. Taranaki was completely foiled. We saw some new and beautiful parts of the country. The incredibly unhelpful information center staff tried to convince us not to do the Tongariro crossing, so we did the more difficult Ngauruhoe climb instead and had a perfect day in the mountains. We discovered that Karangahake gorge makes for a perfect packraft whitewater run, and explored some of the coastline with our boats. Overall a fantastic trip south.

Tongariro trail with Ngauruhoe

Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu

Steam vent on top of Ngauruhoe

Ruapehu, tallest mountain on the N. Island

Ohinemuri river

Ohinemuri river
video of our paddling here:

Bridal veil falls near Raglan

Cathedral cove

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Down under

Australia was short but sweet. We spent a few days in Sydney before being chased away by the dust storm. We took refuge in the Blue Mountains for a few days hiking around the spectacular national park.

Sydney dust storm

Bridal veil falls

Hiking in the Grose valley



Blue Mountains national park

Friday, August 28, 2009


The Tetons

Paula on Baxter's pinnacle

Paula and I spent about 10 days around Wyoming and Montana climbing and hiking.  We climbed Baxter's pinnacle and the Exum ridge on the Grand Teton.  The Wind River mountains were amazing but wouldn't let us climb due to unsettled weather.  We will be back!

The Exum ridge follows the prominent sun/shade line to the top

Leading the crux pitch on the lower Exum

Paula on the summit 13,770 ft.

Paula on the rappel to get off the summit

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Denali Work

Denali shadow from 17,200 ft. 5:00am

on the summit

South ridge, East Kahiltna peak

First pitch, mini-moonflower

The mountaineering season was a blur as usual this year. I had barely enough time in Talkeetna to clean up from one trip before I started packing for the next one. The field time was exceptional. I was able to explore some new places including East Kahiltna peak, the Mini-moonflower, Ruth Gorge, and the Pika glacier. My Denali patrol was able to summit in excellent weather, and all medicals and rescues I worked on went smoothly . You can't ask for more than that. Some photos from the trips can be found at:

Middle Troll, Pika glacier

Rafting out the Tokositna river from the Pika to Talkeetna

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A week at basecamp for Rigging for Rescue training made for a great start to the season.  We had good weather, great field training, and awesome company with the PJs.

Some funky layers in the snowpack including Mt. Redoubt ash and some persistent facets visible with this column failure.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cold clear

Our weeks of negative temps produced the inevitable surface hoar on the snowpack. I found this crystal growing underneath a rock just above Virgin Creek in Girdwood. It had the humidity from the creek to assist its growth. It's probably among the largest I've ever seen.