Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Delia Peak - 4.1.2018

2018 was a Hatcher year. It was stable, deep, and soft, and we had a great time exploring new zones, revisiting old ones, and linking up favorites. With a fat snowpack down low, the Mint Valley alder jungle was buried, and we focused on Arcose Ridge. After years of staring at Delia Peak from Rae Wallace, Sidney Creek, and, well, everywhere else it was time to check it off.

As we climbed out of the cold inversion of the valley bottom and into the sunshine of the basin Alex, Charlie, Josh, and Zack raced for the chance to break trail.

The peloton of skinny fast dudes quickly had us on top of Arcose Ridge from where we looked behind us into the heart of the Mint Valley. We'd ski Montana Peak a week later. I'm dreaming about another window to get more of those.

We followed the wide ridge east to the summit of Delia. At the high point we could look straight at the twin peaks of Souvenir and the west bowl they guard. I remembered lying on Souvenir's overhung summit, looking 500 feet straight down, and feeling the tickle in my grundel.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

East Killiak - 3.26.2019

After an extended period of stormy weather, we were looking for a "moderate" objective to get our noses into the snowpack. After some back and forth about what moderate means, we settled on East Killiak. Like so many other memories, the day started on Prudhoe Bay Road.

We hiked up the access trail, switched to skins, and were soon following the familiar route up the Ram Glacier. On the way, we passed under the sharkey north face of Cumulus and the stacked massif of Raina:

Under the huge amphitheater at the top of the glacier we curved left to Bombardment Pass. Hard to think of other lines that pair as nicely as Korohusk's dogleg and pinner.

The descent from Bombardment Pass is straightforward, but we managed a confused route down loose moraine covered in a dusting of snow and seeps of water ice. Tumbling down scree makes for stronger memories. Peters Peak:

Monday, September 2, 2019

South Fork Matanuska Packraft - August 2019

Connor and I had been dreaming about an August trip. We wanted the Talkeetna, but at 9,000 cfs it was above my packrafting pay grade. With the hot and dry weather, paddling options were limited - technical glacial rivers were pumping while everything else was bone dry. The South Fork provided a nice compromise of glacial volume without the packraft eating holes that a technical river would bring.

On Saturday morning we met Cam at the Lionshead shuttle, dropped a vehicle, then found Alex and Evan at Caribou Creek. The crisp morning air warned of the changing seasons as we pushed off for the short first float.

At the Caribou-South Fork Matanuska confluence we ferried across, rolled up our boats, and hiked up the drainage towards the Matanuska Glacier. About a mile of minor bushwhacking along game trails covered in moose poo and we were at the glacier.

Next to the glacier we cruised on old moraines and out-wash bars.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Blackstone Bay - August 2019

Anthony and Sarah's trip to AK started with six days of crashing thru the brush, swimming across the sloughs, sleeping in the swamps, and crawling along the bear trails of the Kenai Peninsula. It was time for some Type 1 fun, so we headed towards the emerald waters of Whittier and the Prince William Sound.

We left Anchorage early on Thursday morning, checked in with Lazy Otter, and by 10:30 were cruising out Passage Canal in the shiny landing craft. Turning at Decision Point, the giant icefields of Blackstone Bay rose in front of us.

The boat dropped us off at 13 Mile beach, waved goodbye, and disappeared.

Photo Jessy Post

On the little black beach we ate an apple, adjusted our footrests, and carried the kayaks into the surf.

Photo Jessy Post

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Bull River to Ohio Creek - June 2019

On June 8th and 9th 2019, Connor, Rey, Jordan and I returned to the Bull. The plan had been the East Fork of Chulitna, but word from Brad M. was too much snow. He recommended instead linking up the Bull with Ohio Creek.

At Pass Creek we left a shuttle before continuing to the usual trailhead at the Middle Fork Chulitna bridge. The ATV trail to the Bull was covered in prints from moose, momma bears, baby bears, and a pair of Salomon Speedcross running shoes. Sections were a bit swampy:

This May was a wet and cold one, green-up was just starting at Broad Pass.

Rey says that Broad Pass is the weekend packrafting Shangri-La: reasonable access from Anchorage, easy trails, lots of water, and killer views.