A Quick Day Out

So a couple of us got out for a nice weekday session.  I headed up to Ptarmigan, while Drew and Will headed up to Archangel.

Drew and Will have been working on developing some boulders in Fairangel Valley in the Talus above Wonderland (about 1/2way back Fairangel Valley on the south side) near where David had found and cleaned a couple of new lines last year.  Will went out there a couple of weeks ago exploring and found and cleaned a handful of new lines, then he and Drew headed out at the end of June and climbed about 10-15 new lines.  Today they headed back to the same area and ended up putting up 6 new lines before getting rained out. So to date that small area including Wonderland now has about 40-45 problems.  Awesome to see everyone motivated to get out.

On a side note, I also heard that Bryce got out on Sunday to Hatcher’s and put up a new line as well as well as sending Seasons in the Mist.  It’s nice to start seeing more and more guys getting out to Archangel and putting stuff up.

I had to work, so I had the car packed and headed up to Ptarmigan as soon as I got off work.  It was raining all over town as I drove up, which should have been a foreshadowing of what was to come, but I had been watching the Glen Alps Web Cam and the parking lot was bone dry all day.  I couldn’t resist.  A quick drive, a quick pack, and I was off biking up the trail.

A young moose just off the Powerline trail.


I forget sometimes during day-to-day life in Anchor-Town just how special it is to live in Alaska.  Despite the rain, clouds, and short rock climbing season, the ability to get out into these isolated high alpine areas so easily is something to cherish.  During the 4.5 mile stunning bike ride, only 10 minutes from town I saw a whopping 2 people on the lower trail, and none after the first mile or so.  I saw 6 moose, a bald eagle, and tons of little critters during this time.

I warmed up on a small trailside boulder my old friend Dan Kryger showed me about 10-12 years ago before he moved.  I don’t recall any of the names, but it has a fantastic v2(the left line) and v5(the center line) on it, plus a nice short v0 on the right.

Trailside Boulder

I continued up the trail, ditched the bike and hiked up into the bowl.  So far the weather was cold and windy, but no rain.  I had come up a couple of weeks ago on my own and worked an old cave project, which is basically three moves to an easy top out with the first move being the definite crux.  I was hopeful that today would be the day.

As soon as I sat down under the boulder and started unpacking, it started raining.  Being the prepared Alaskan boulderer, I had brought a nice little 5×8 tarp just in case.  I threw this over the top out, and proceeded to unpack and get everything set up.  Being the silly eternal optimist I had not figured on the temperature’s being 40 degrees with wind and rain.  I quickly bundled up into all of the clothes I had brought (thank goodness I have a little windbreaker packed with a hat and gloves always stuffed into the bottom of my bag).  As a side note when I got home later that night and was telling Libby about my day, she commented that it “doesn’t sound like very much fun.”  I would have to agree with her.

The clouds were rolling up the valley as I hiked up into the bowl.

In the end I was able to send the cave project, (now dubbed Solitary Confinement – v11), and quickly headed back down the trail to get out of the rain and cold.

Like many things in life, our perspective changes as we look back at things.  I may not have had a “fun” day out, but I certainly enjoyed being in the mountains, riding my bike, and wrestling pebbles more than I disliked the cold and rain.  I guess that why I’ll keep going out on questionable days and hoping for the best.

Here’s a quick video with the v5/6 on the trailside boulder and my first attempt on the cave problem before my camera died due to the cold.