Sunday, July 31, 2005

Glacier landings and ice-climbing

Alaska is a frustrating place to travel in peak season on a budget. Places book up ahead of time, most places are only served by a single bus each day and everything is expensive. However, I have found that hitching is pretty easy (and interesting).

I spent the first 3 days hiking in the backcountry of the Chugach mountains with a guide since I wasnt able to join another group and without my own transport or much experience with camping around grizzlies I didnt want to try to organise it on my own. I was a little disappointed to find out that most of the mountains in Alaska are only around 6000' or 7000', and being summer there was little snow left. Somehow in my mind I had imagined soaring white peaks all around me as far as the eye could see.

Then I had a day of ice-climbing on the Matanuska Glacier which was a fun challenge and I was happy to find that my arms were not giving me any problems even after dangling from two ice axes on an overhang.

The adventure tour company I did the trip with had a great campsite where we stayed one night with a bucket shower, a BBQ where we grilled fresh salmon, and finally we enjoyed a beer in the wood-fired hot-tub. Highly recommended.