The Gate to Archangel is Open!

A couple of years ago, Jared Lavacque decided to try to produce a film about the bouldering in Alaska, particularly in Hatcher Pass.  An old friend of his, Chris Alstrin, was enlisted as the videographer/filmmaker and came up for a week of filming to see what we could get.  The first day was a bit unorganized, with about 10-12 people all climbing and hanging out with no real plan.  In the end we weren’t able to get enough to put together a film, so Jared decided to bring Chris back up to finish filming.  Over this past winter we brainstormed about what ideas/concepts/themes we wanted to present and came up with an overall vision for the film and a schedule and shot list.  Yesterday was the third day of filming this year, and my first day up to Hatchers.  Thankfully we were blessed with a beautiful day.

Beautiful Day In Archangel

Beautiful Day In Archangel


Chris Alstrin doing some filming of a new problem in Archangel.


One of the ideas/themes we wanted to present in the film is the process of cleaning and developing a boulder.  With this in mind, a group of us (David, Will, Jared, Keenen, Jamie, Wendy, Chris and myself) headed up to a couple of boulders on the west side of the bowl behind the monolith.  We had checked these out last year, and I was itching to get back to them.  We hiked in and proceeded to clean and climb 15 (mostly) new problems in total for the day.  We cleaned and climbed 5 lines on The Mine Cart Boulder, and there is one hard line we didn’t climb, along with a handful of slab problems that still need cleaning.

Wendy Working Anticlime - v5

Wendy working Anticline – v5/6

The first new problem we did was Mine Shaft v3, climbs the northwest arete of the boulder up a series of compression holds and good rails.  Anticline v5/6, climbs a sloping arched arete.  Continuing left to right from Anticline, the problems are: Drift Mine v0 Follow a series of good ledges to the top,  The Canary v3 – Sit start on a juggy seam, head up and right through good holds to the lip, Project – Start low on small crimps and minimal feet and head straight up, and Junk Metal v1 – Sit start the short right end of the face and make a couple of moves to the lip.

After filming the cleaning and climbing of these, Jared and Keenen headed back to town, Wendy, Jamie and Will headed over to try Abomination with Chris filming, and David and I headed over to clean and climb another boulder just north of the Mine Cart Boulder.  David and I set to work cleaning all of the top outs, and working our way down the faces with pole brushes and handhelds as best we could, sometimes cleaning as we climbed on the easier lines.  Once we had the rough cleaning done on all of the lines, we did the fine cleaning and chalking.  In total this boulder looks to have 11 or so problems, of which we climbed 8 of them ranging from v1 to v8.  There is also a small boulder about 30 feet away with 2 nice lines on it that were in the v3-v4 range.


Dave climbing on a possibly new line. This one looked as though it may have been climbed, but we weren’t really sure.


Dave climbing a new V0/1 problem.

Chris came back over when we were about done cleaning and filmed us on a couple of the problems, and by the time we were done, we were feeling pretty worked and it was pretty late, so we packed it in and headed back to the car.  In total about 12 hours town to town for Chris and I, and about 14 for Will and David who had gotten out there before us and spent some time working Easy Groovin.