Saturday, June 2, 2012


I just came back from an awesome trip to AK where I had the chance to spend
27 days in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. This is my six trip/ expedition 
on the range and every time I had the chance to see and climb in new places/ Mountains.
My original schedule consisted on teaching a Alpine seminar for 10 days for RMI.
After that I will be working for Skywardmountaineering where I will be assisting my good friend and mentor Vince Anderson guiding the North Buttress of MT Hunter via the Moonflower route.
Guiding this kind of objective it is as advance as guiding can get. It has never been guided before.
 After that I will be having about 10 days of personal guiding where I will be climbing 
some of the classics and hopefully be able to climb new routes. And off course the weather will determine how the plans will unfold. In the end of this trip I end up climbing  over 40 guide book pitches from ice to rock and mixed terrain. 

Everything start in Seattle where we ( Jason, gilbert and I )  flew to Anchorage. For this kind of trips is not such of thing as light weight traveling.

Once in Talkeetna it was time to pack and get ready to flight to the glacier. This little town it is one of my favorite to hang out. People from over the world come here to go climbing. From Talkeetna is where the flying happens to the range.  

The flying to the glacier is one of the coolest things about climbing in the range. For about 1 hour you get to fly at the same level or lower than the peaks. The landing can be little bumpy especially if it is fresh snow. This Bush pilots are incredible !!!!!!   We flew to the base camp of Denali where the view is incredible. A 360 degree of mind blowing peaks lay all around you.   

After our awesome flying it was time to set up camp. Here is where I will be leaving for the next month. Snow camping is pretty cool you can build all kinds of cool structures for the tent, cook tent, bathroom and storage unit.

This two great friends  Ann Gilbert and Jason are ones that I end up working with. Super great times with them. We had 6 super fun climbers in our seminar where we able to teach them all about expedition and alpine climbing that we could. from setting camp, to avalanche awernes to rescue and high altitude climbing, this 10 day seminar it was a great intro for any future expeditions.
Thank you all for the great times.     

In our seminar our first objective was the radio control tower.
This peak lays just behine the base camp. The climb it is very cool with a great views from the top including a first class view of the North buttress of MT Hunter. 

It was climbing time for us. All the group had a great learning experience. Here we put all our teaching and they put all the learning together for us to climb a cool peak in the Alaska range.   

10 days went pretty quick and the seminar was over. The group went home and I stay there to meet  my good friend and mentor Vince Anderson with him was Mark a super strong climber who been climbing with Skywardmountaineering for awhile. Their main mission was to climb the North buttress of MT Hunter AK grade 6, AI 6, M7. Thos route it has never been guided or atemptet to be guide. Since they end up getting stuck in Talkeetna for 3 days due bad weather, only left them with 4 days to make this happen, first we need it to go for a climb to warm up before go tackle the big one.    

Once Vince and Mark all setup in camp it was time for us to head and start climbing. Our first objective was the SW ridge of Franciss.

This ridge a classic climb on the base camp area it goes at 5.8 60 degree snow. We climb it in snowy conditions so fell little harder. 

Here Vince start us with a great mixed climbing form the get go. Snowy slab made this pitch a great one to climb.

We climb all the ridge and just about 500m from the top on the easy but steep snow slope, snow stability force us to turn around. I guess it wasn't mean to be to summit for us.

2 more weather days force us to stay put in camp once it clear up it was time for us to go climb the North Buttress. unfortunately we just had a day to climb before they had to fly back, so we decided to climb as high as we could check out some of the route and rappel down once the temps really get cool.

Off we go. Vince start leading the first 5 pitches. The biggening of the route was pretty cool a very tricky to cross bergchrund start our day. After that the ice climbing was super fun. we gain altitude quickly and exposure was incredible.  

5 pitches later it was me time to lead my block. The climbing start on a very interesting note with a  little section of funky steep ice with weird protection.

Really cool ice climb for 5 pitches and my block was over. Vince took over and it was time for him lead the crux pitch the PROW. 

A great photo of the crux pitch on a pretty good conditions. Usually this pitch is an Aid climb but this season it is enough ice where we where able to free climb.  

Vince got to lead this awesome pitch and mark and I both follow it. Hands down one of the best mixed pitches that I climb in the mountains.  

Mark here following the pitch. He send this section no problem. 

Once we finish this pitch, it was time for us to start heading down. I will be coming next season to climb this route. We had great time climbing together. Here Mark, Vince and Myself. 

After Vince and Mark left, I team up with a friend of mine from Slovenia to go climbing the mini moon flower. This route is a super Alaska classic.

We simul solo the bottom part of the route. pretty fun climbing!!!!

Spin drift got little much and then we decided to start pitching it out in blocks of 3 pitches at the time.

The crux pitch of the route was mid way up very cool delicate climbing on steep terrain mad this pitch one of kind.

7 more pitches of ice climbing puts on the summit ridge, that took us straight to the top.   

Shoot from the top of the route.!!!!!
  Over all a great experience with a great climbing partner. We climb a total of 15 pitches of alpine ice.
Would do this route again in a heart bit.

After couple days of rest and my trip coming to an end, I decided to head out for a solo mission to the East ridge of Francis. The climb is pretty mellow with a bit of steep snow. The hardest part was cruising the glacier and crossing some crevasses by myself other than that it was great time.

Once at the summit the wind really pick up I could barely stand, but the view still clear and spectacular.
I got the chance to see the Mascioli pillar a feature that impress me in the first time I got to see it 4 years ago and which it going to be my focus for next year's trip to AK.

Cool photo at the summit !!!!

After the climb and about 27 days at the glacier it was time for me to head back to civilization where nice warm shower and green plants and flowers where waiting for me.

Once back in Talkeetna it was time to hang out with some friends and celebrate life and the great times together in the mountains. Thanks to all who where part of the adventure: JT, GILBERT, VINCE ANDRESON , MARK CARTIER( in peace you rest my friend), COLIN HALEY, KYLE DEMPSTER, SLOVENIAN BOYS, BOZEMAN FRIENDS, MARK and LISA WESTMAN, GRAIC POPE, JESS ROSKELLY, ETC....  Looking forward for next year adventure in AK.