Posted on 29. Jul, 2011 by in Alaska

The bouldering at Hatcher Pass is spread out. Small clusters of problems are sometimes separated by 45 minutes or more of hiking. Our car won’t make it up to the boulders, so depending on where we are climbing, we have to walk up the road, which can add another 45 minutes of hiking to the day. With a high clearance vehicle, we could be at the first collection of problems in 5 minutes, something I would change if I came back.

IMG_2367Looking east, into the heart of the Talkeetnas from a high ridge.

Overall, the weather has been okay. We’ve been rained out a few days, and typically if it rains we would hike around and look for more new problems. Hiking over the moss covered boulders in the rain is difficult, but it’s important to try and organize the area in my head, try and determine what is worthy and what is not, and figure out where I will put my efforts. This trip has been far different to the trips I have taken in the past, and I have really enjoyed that aspect of it. I love Alaska and I wanted to see if there was enough good bouldering to return later, perhaps next year. Part of that reconnaissance involves hiking to as many places as we can to see what’s out there.

Adding to that challenge, we saw this sign at the head of a trail we had planned on hiking to look for more boulders one morning:


I have spent time in grizzly country before, and these bears are far more unpredictable and dangerous than the small black bears I’ve dealt with in Colorado. We’ve been paying more attention than usual as we head out, and I am armed with bear spray and ready. I spoke with a worker on the trail crew, and he said it wasn’t common to see bears here, but that they were definitely around. Bears are everywhere in Alaska, even where people say they aren’t. Lesson learned.

IMG_2605Bouldering in bear country.

All the adventure aside, we’ve even had some time to climb, believe it or not. Brian did what seems to be the FA of the amazing arete just minutes from the upper parking area, which he is calling Sweet Home Alaska V9. If someone has any other information about this problem being done previously, we’d be happy to hear it. It starts standing with a left hand on a ham-hocking the arete and a right hand on a terrible sloping sidepull. The first move is up and left to a sloper, then right hand to a good edge.

IMG_2019Brian cleaning the problem Sweet Home Alaska V9

Brian also did the FA of Clan of the Cave Trolls V10, which is a steep roof near the top of the Fairangel Gully.


We both flashed Magnet V8, a nice problem put up by local Todd Helgeson. Unfortunately, Todd is out of town right now and we haven’t had the chance to climb with him. We’ve certainly enjoyed repeating a number of his FAs.


I have continued to work on the arete in the Fairangel Gully, which I think will be a classic problem when it is finished, and yesterday I found an amazing roof that Brian and I cleaned for a while, at the base of the gully. This one could be V13, and we are starting to feel that we have far more to climb that we could even begin to think about climbing in two weeks, which is an awesome feeling.

IMG_2320Fairangel arete project

We have also put effort into the Muffin Man project, a sick power problem that is probably V12 or V13, and just down the hill from Sweet Home Alaska. All but one of the moves have been done on that project. Just to the left is a great V8 called Muffin Man, which we climbed yesterday. There is also a nice project which starts on the Muffin Man project and climbs into Muffin Man and that is probably V13 as well.

IMG_2658Capps eyes the crux move of the Muffin Man project

All in all, I am having an incredible time in Alaska, and today we are headed off to Denali National Park, before returning for a final two days. More updates to come!

IMG_2668Sunset from the boulders yesterday.

8 Responses to “Alaska”

  1. big poppa chosscrush

    30. Jul, 2011


  2. Micah

    30. Jul, 2011

    Good lord those problems look amazing! Really nice shots Jaime.

  3. greasy enchiladas

    30. Jul, 2011

    I wouldn’t worry about the grizzlys – you guys are too thin and chewy. Besides, if can outrun your buddies – you’ll be just fine.

  4. Matt Lowber

    01. Aug, 2011

    Again Todd would have to confirm this, but I don’t believe that arete has been done. We’ve all looked at it for years but wrote it off as sketch and our energy would be better spent on other things. Looks sick! Well done!

  5. Sam

    01. Aug, 2011

    That’s great- and when are you gonna send my guide book that I bought a month ago?

  6. B3

    01. Aug, 2011

    The guidebooks came in and it is my first priority to get them out to everyone who preordered.

  7. Jared LaVacque

    01. Aug, 2011


    Sorry I didn’t get to connect with you and Brian. I had taken a bit of time to film the bouldering film a week prior, at Hatcher Pass, with Matt, Todd, Will and Drew et al. The arete you are talking about that is V9, has not, according to Todd been climbed before.


  8. B3

    02. Aug, 2011

    Jared, no worries. I am going to try and make it up there next year a little earlier and hopefully we can all get together and climb! Thanks for the beta!

Leave a Reply