Bryon Glacier Update

Contributed by David Funatake:

Chris, Nate and I went south to Byron Glacier instead of going north. Having only known about the rocks there for a few weeks, Chris and I have been getting out there as much as possible to explore and develop the area. There are currently just 26 problems, 10 of which we established over the weekend. It seems very unlikely that we are the first people to go bouldering here, but we have been putting a concentrated effort into discovering the potential that the valley holds so that we can get other people interested in bouldering outside.

After a slow start to the morning, we hiked in and went to two boulders that Chris and I had noticed while hiking back in the dark a week before. We had passed these by to access the rocks further back, but decided to check them out this morning. The Ego and Eggo Boulders yielded six fun problems from V1 to V3, the most notable being an excellent problem on balancy edges and ledges called Toaster to Boaster V3.

Nate Welker warming up on Makin' Out and Taken Out-v2 at Byron Glacier

As the sun crested the ridge and filled the valley with light we moved to a problem that my friend Chris Vu and I established a few weeks before, but had not returned to since. The Shadow of Time V4 is one of the best problems I have ever done anywhere. The line flows up a slightly overhung face on perfect holds. After the initial shock of seeing it wore off, Nate and Chris quickly sent it and we utilized the glacier back drop and rare perfect sunshine to get some pictures.

David Funatake on Shadow of Time-v4 at Byron Glacier

Nate and Chris also repeated two stellar problems that I had established earlier on the Ninja Boulders, Nukitsuke V4 (pronounced new-keet-su-ke) and Ningenuity V5.

Chris Barnett on Nukitsuke-v4 at Byron Glacier

We had a met a random guy that turned out to be a new climber. After being a good sport and trying the problems that we were working on, we took him over to a problem that was originally named the Atypical Tourist V1. He was not a tourist, but he was very new to the sport and we wanted him to send something cool and get stoked on climbing. He got to the lip of the of the problem and after a tense moment or two he blew off the holds leaving behind a lot of skin and blood. You could tell that he really wanted to send it because despite severely maiming all four digits on his left hand and taking a scary fall, he taped up and tried several more times in vain to get it. I applaud his pain tolerance and determination, but I hope that I never “Tyler” my hand like that while climbing. In honor of his epic failure, the Bloody Tourist V1 was born.

Tyler split and we made our way carefully over the talus back to the Bear Claw Boulder where I finally managed the FA of Hurt’s So Good V7. Chris and I had worked this problem before, but both the light and our strength failed leaving our minds to obsess about it for a week. I was able to end my fixation, but Chris with his heavily taped and blistered fingers was unable to get it despite having previously almost sent it in the dark. Nate also sent it after seeing the beta and then got the second ascent of the North Sloper V5 (ish), a problem that was established by Chris Vu. I threw myself at the slopers again and despite making progress on it, I was shut down again. I settled for the ascent of Pipe Dreams V2 next to it.

It was a perfect day of climbing. However, the weather there is notoriously rainy even when Anchorage is dry and sunny. I’m hoping that the weather cooperates with me more over the next few weeks so that I can pretend it’s still summer and get a few more days of climbing out there.