Our Days in Chititu

McCarthy longtime locals were calling this the worst mosquito summer they could remember -and I don’t think they were lying. To minimize losses to our precious sanity and blood reserves, we had to wear our long-sleeve wind breakers and gloves. Which wouldn’t be that bad by itself, but under the hot summer sun these layers were way too much. The sweating was a mess. The buzz of mosquitos was incessant. And the 5 mile “road to Chititu” is anything but a road after the first mile. Alders and vegetation invade the airspace above the trail. You loose the trail and then find it because it is so difficult to distinguish. By the end of the fourth mile we were quite sweat drenched, but then a heavy flash rain for the last mile determined that every square inch of our clothing and bodies should be dripping wet. The rain, had astonishingly little effect on the mosquitos. Hoping to find shelter from the rain in Chititu, we quickened our already fast pace. We found such shelter at a horse stable in Chititu at 5:30pm. We were only 3 hours into the trip and I was already ready for it to be over. But the testing of patience was far from over.

The Elementary Peaks

We wrapped around Polonium Peak and ascended up to the saddle between it and the Elementary Spires. At this saddle, we dropped our packs and traveled unweighted up Polonium’s East ridge. No signs of prior ascent were found, and I left behind a summit registrar. Over the course of the trip, the views would become ‘more of the same’, but for now they were amazing and fresh.

Beyond Dora Peak

Friday night after work found me at the end of the Usibeli Coal Mine Road and making way for Dora Peak. The bugs were ferocious down below and so I hardly took a break until I came to the summit of my first peak; Peak 4100. What laid ahead I didn’t have much an idea of. But I had two days and two legs and with them I would ride the ridge as far back as I could while still leaving enough time to get back by Sunday nightfall. At the end, I’d learn a good deal about these free-roaming hills beyond Dora Peak.

8900′ Aydon Peak via Boonje Couloir

This route and peak are in my top 3 of all time. The other two are Icefall West Ridge and Baleful North Ridge. Having done a guestimated 300 peaks in my lifetime, that puts Aydon in the top 1%. A key difference between those other two bold undertakings and this one, however, is information. WithContinue reading “8900′ Aydon Peak via Boonje Couloir”

Peak 5350 (Talkeetna Mountains)

The ski down the west face was great and giddy. Spring skiing is vibe. At 3100′ we came to an island of tundra and made it our home for the night. We walked barefoot on the tundra, its feel and smell issuing a nostalgia for the soon-to-be season; summer.

Old Snowy and the 8750’s

The weather forecast was spelling out a bunch of bluebird days in the deltas. As Fairbanks mountaineers know all too well, this basically never happens. So Zack Seimsen and I took a Monday and Friday off work to capitalize on it. Strangely enough, the weather forecast didn’t deteriorate and we were even blessed with aContinue reading “Old Snowy and the 8750’s”

Truth Peak

It was a Sanford attempt that fell apart due to an unpleasant weather forecast for the upcoming week. The reality that Sanford wouldn’t have happened was later cemented by boot fit issues for 2 out of the 5 in our party. But since we had already ventured nearly 20 miles deep (by snow machine), TruthContinue reading “Truth Peak”