Friday, February 23, 2007

Trip to Valdez

Last weekend, we joined our friend Kevin on a trip down to Valdez for an annual Ice Climbing Festival. There weren't a ton of people, but enough to have a lot to watch. We thought they might have some gear to rent, but I guess the size of the festival has really gone down in the last few years, and its a pretty small thing now, kinda word of mouth bring your own gear kinda thing. But we had a great time watching Kevin and a friend of his from the climbing gym, Britta, make their way up quite a few frozen waterfalls. Here's the first one they attempted.
Getting their gear on and prepared.
Here's a shot to show that the waterfall is still running under the ice....kinda freaky but really cool at the same time.
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Ice Climbing

Here's Britta making her way up the fall, putting in an anchor.
Kevin belaying Britta.

After about 5 hours of climbing, they came down of the ice, but only to go on to another one!!!! Couldn't believe their stamina.

Cross Country Skiing in Mineral Creek Canyon

Since the Ice Climbing Festival ended up not having any gear to rent, luckily we brought all our winter fun gear with us and decided to go x-country skiing in Mineral Creek Canyon. Gorgeous surrondings on a gorgeous day! Here's a shot of the entrance.
This pic is taken looking back out of the canyon. You can see the groomer making its way along the trails.
Ben, taken right before we went down a crazy scarey hill (to Lisa anyway!)

Mineral Creek X-skiing cont'd

Ben making his way to the back of the valley. There is a frozen river on the right side of the picture that we skied along
We came across someone buried neck deep in the snow!!! Just kidding, it was actually a porcupine though! It wasn't too happy with us getting too close, it kept its butt towards us. Look at the cute tracks it made :)
Lisa on the bridge over Mineral Creek

Buried in Valdez

Man did Valdez have some snow or what?!?! There was probably a good 5 feet base layer of snow, then drifts went crazy! Houses and cars were buried!

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Valdez Arm

Here are some shots of Valdez Arm, an inlet coming off of Prince William Sound. There are ferries that run in and out of here, we're stoked about taking one in the summer! As you can see from the pics, it was GORGEOUS in Valdez while we were there!

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Ice climbers on Bridal Veil Falls

Here is a shot of Bridal Veil Falls, all iced up. They are IMMENSE!
The one on the right looked a bit more daunting. You really couldn't grasp how large and tall these falls were until there were climbers on them. If you look hard, there is a climber on the bottom tier of this icefall!!! He and his partner ended up climbing to the top!!!

A close up shot of the climbers.

Trip home from Valdez

Took a moment on our way home to take some pics from Thompson Pass, about 15 miles out of Valdez. This one is looking out east.

This is what Thompson Pass usually looks like...its famous for having screaming winds. The hazy stuff on top of the mountains isn't clouds, its snow being blown off! This was taken coming out of valdez heading towards the pass. 2 days later, there were 80 mph winds!

A snow covered glacier.
A great mountain shot just outside of Valdez, you can see some iridecent areas of ice under the snow.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Winner Creek Trail Hike

On Sunday, our friend Kevin and his neighbor Laura joined us for a hike in the Chugach near Girdwood named the Winner Creek Trail. It was a great hike, we did about 6 miles of it in great temperatures (in the upper 20s).
A view of Winner Creek...
A shot of the North Face of Alyeska, showing two popular runs, Christmas Chute and New Years Chute...
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Winners Creek contd.

Kevin and I checkin out the stability of a bridge over the creek...
...using the old fashioned method
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Winners Creek contd

We arrived at what was labeled "The Gorge", a bit smaller than the Gorge we're used to, but just as beautiful. Here is a couple of photos to show the tiering of the river flowing down and the ice sculptures it makes.

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Winners Creek contd

This picture was actually quite dangerous to pull off....Kevin had to stand on one side of the bridge railing while we sat on the other side's railing and leaning back. You can kinda tell by the look in Ben's eye :)
At the end of our hike we came to the hand tram, built in 2001. It rests on a steel cable, then you pull yourself over the gorge with the rope. It was pretty awesome!
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Winners Creek contd

Ben and I, testing the weight limit of the hand tram!!!!!
Kevin, testing out the wind direction...... :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Andy's 31st Birthday

"Hey everybody... I just turned 31!!!! Not to sure how I feel about it... " Andy Brown, night at the Snow Goose.

Here is Lisa with a rubberband gattling gun aimed at the birthday boy with a band in flight!

Here is the crew, all enjoying a brew, or a few, in the, I was there how bout you?

Posted by PicasaThis picture was the result of a fantastic quote, I can't remember. If anyone knows what it was comment please.... oh and this is Andy's much cooler brother, Scott.