Service Boulder

Yesterday, I headed out to Service Boulder for a quick session after work and found myself thinking about the first time I discovered the boulder back in 1997.  Climbers had been climbing out at service since at least the early 80’s, maybe earlier and someone had created a one page topo of it with directions. The copy I got had been printed and reprinted to the point where the text was pretty much illegible, but you could make out the directions to the boulder and a little bit about the grades.

My old friend and climbing partner Chris Terry and I (not knowing the trails up there at all) proceeded to spend the better part of an afternoon trying to find the boulder.  When we finally did find it, we were like giddy school kids.  We didn’t care about the grafitti (although there was much less then), we didn’t care about the gnarly sharp rock, we didn’t care about the bears, moose, broken bottles, or foot deep layer of moss over most of the boulder. It was a real boulder, and right in Anchorage.  We went out pretty regularly for a couple of weeks cleaning all of the moss off the boulder and discovering holds, finding problems and doing almost every eliminate we could think of.  I learned alot about how to climb on granite during that time, and it certainly sparked my desire to search out and find new boulders and new climbs.

Since then I’ve made at least one trip out to Service Boulder every year.  Over the years, the area has changed and yesterday’s trip it seemed pretty dramatic.  As you leave the ski trails to get to the boulder you walk along a trail that winds through some alders and willow trees.  In 1997, this was two foot tall grass with no alders or trees.  The boulder itself had a few small places with grafitti, but now most of the boulder is covered in spray paint.  Even so Service is still a special place to me and a nice fast break from suburban Anchorage.

Enjoy a short video from yesterday.