Alaska’s Best Boulder Problems (that are not in the guidebook)

For all intensive purposes, I like to call the Alaska Bouldering Guidebook a success. Todd, Kelsey, and I, as well as many others, put a lot of time and energy into making the most accurate, useful, and comprehensive guide to established boulder problems as we could. However, there were limitations to what the guidebook could cover.  In Hatcher Pass we did not include areas of established boulder problems like the Lost World/ Middle Earth area, the Fair Angel talus fields, Tunnel Vision Gully, and the Lane Hut Boulders due to a lack of true development, lack of information, or remoteness of the areas. The Long Lake and Long Dong areas near Weiner Lake were omitted for similar reasons. Also, there is no way to update the guidebook as new problems get developed; and we have done a few doozies. So, lest anyone think that the spaces beyond and between the maps of the guide are devoid of boulders (they are not), here is a list of the best established problems (not in the book) that I know of.

1. Captain Obvious v8, The Lost World, Hatcher Pass

This brilliant line of crimps connected by powerful moves is a must do for anyone aiming to climb the grade.The Lost World Area is the name of the talus field south of the Diamond Area (there is an obvious gully that separates the two fields). This problem is an amazing overhang hiding against the hill on the northern edge of the talus field. Big moves on positive holds; they don’t get much better than this!

* Also, don’t miss the fantastic unnamed v1 just below this problem.

captian obvious

Captain Obvious actually climbs the other side of the bulge. It’s hard to get pictures of that side though.

 

captain obvious

2. Tumpty Gumpty v4, Wonderland Talus, Fair Angel Valley, Hatcher Pass

This striking dihedral was found and cleaned by Will and Drew Crowther in 2011. The Dynamic Duo declared that “Top Gun v4” was one of the best lines in the area. However, they were shocked to learn that it had been climbed almost a decade earlier by the likes of Todd Helgeson and Jeff Claeson! The Crowther Bros were further incensed by the unbefitting name, Humpty Dumpty v4. Although it is clear Will and Drew were not the first to climb the line, they argue that the problem was not properly cleaned and developed, therefore naming rights should go to them. Although a final resolution between the two sides seems unlikely, one unbiased observer keeps suggesting a ridiculous hybrid as a middle ground. Find this problem by walking into the talus field behind the established Wonderland problems and you will find it. Bring a few friends and quite a few pads as the landing is subpar and the top has a committing high step.

*Also in the area is a v5 problem with good crimps on an overhanging fin. Can’t describe it better.

*Also, a great v4 called Angel is the Centerfold, but you haven’t a chance of finding this line of positive edges.

DSC_0013

 

Tumpty Gumpty

3. Dreamcatcher V4, Avalanche Peak, Powerline Pass

Way off of the radar, this fantastic problem is found at about eye level with Powerline Pass, beneath Avalanche Peak. Don’t know where Avalanche Peak is? You can find it on Google.

There are a few smaller problems around the area, but the main draw is a problem called Dreamcatcher which follows a perfect line of holds on the obvious  lone block. Sit start on crimps follow them up to the blunt arete out left. The landing is flat and mostly tundra so you only need to carry up two pads with you. The approach is long, but the reward is a great problem with a spectacular view.

*Also, Cloud Climber, the v2 slab arete to the right, is quite good.

Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher

 

 

4. Chris’ Lament v8, Behind the Monolith, Hatcher Pass

I’m actually really sad this didn’t make it into the guidebook. It was right on the edge of the area that we included and is one of a handful of great v8 test pieces in Hatcher Pass. This powerful compression problem climbs between an arete and rare incut crimps. It may be short, but that only makes it more alluring to potential suitors as the problem can be attempted alone with few pads. It is located behind the monolith a few minutes past the Hulk Boulders. The trail will climb over a small ridge before entering a spongey meadow on top. Follow that ridge to the north about 100 yards or walk up the meadow and then head up and right about 100 feet. You can’t (and don’t want to) miss it. (See Map below).

Steven sending Chris' Lament v8

Steven sending Chris’ Lament v8

Behind the monolith 2014-08-04 at 12.11.19 PM

5. Mine Shaft v3, Behind the Monolith, Hatcher Pass

Although I personally suggested calling it “Mein Shaft,” this wonderful v3 will not disappoint, even if the name does. It climbs up good holds on beautiful arete and has a decent landing on the Mine Cart Boulder. From the Hulk Boulder, looking to the west there are two very obvious large blocks across the valley, head for the south one that has scattered mining debris around it. Have fun.

*There are several good problems on this boulder and the large one to the north. Probably the most striking is the line next to Mine Shaft, a slopey rail called Anticline v6.

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David on Anticline v6 next to Mine Shaft v3

 

6. Rock’em Sock’em v6, Unnamed area, Hatcher Pass

This is a very new line that I am including because I really liked it. It follows an obvious 45 degree seam across a beautiful overhanging face. The beta that I found was dynamic, fun, and easy to protect and work First off, this area is a talus field way south of the rest. In fact it’s the only area that you will not cross the Archangel Bridge to access. 150 yards south of the bridge there is a pullout that leads to a narrow road that becomes an overgrown trail. Follow this along the south side of the creek for about 30 minutes until it emerges from the alders. From here the talus field to the south will directly uphill about 15 minutes away. Aim straight for it, avoiding some swampy drainage and find the obvious boulder at the base of the hill.

*The corner of the boulder is a very good v6-7 (?) called Droids on Roids. There are several good lines on this boulder including the All Tomato v1 and 101 Damnations v5.

Rock'em Sockem

*Sorry, photos wouldn’t upload (May post on AK Climber page on Facebook)

7. Happy Endings v2, Muffin Garden, Diamond South Area, Hatcher Pass

This problem went ignored for a long time just south and east of the Muffin Man boulder in a rocky meadow now dubbed The Muffin Garden. The problem is a synthesis of slab and arete climbing that ends with a brilliant jug rail. It is highly recommended for everyone who likes to do good problems instead of number chasing.

*You will likely pass a short boulder with a diagonal crack splitting it. Starting at the base of the crack is a fun v3 called Beef Nectar, right is Super Beef v2.

*Developed in the past few days, Heartbreaker v9 is apparently a fantastic low ball trending from an obvious crimp to slopers out right. going left is v10.

Happy Endings

Muffin Garden

 

Let me know if I missed anything or if you want directions or if you hate these problems or if this is just a stupid piece of writing!