Monday, July 7, 2008

Wolverine Cr backpack/climb

Peter spoke with a ski buddy and got the skinny on a local contact willing to let us park at their place to access the country to the NE of Lazy Mountain and Matanuska Peak, an area I'd always wondered about but never put much thought to. There's no official trailhead although the route of the trail itself is legitimiate, following a dedicated BLM right-of-way over a series of civilized (not torn up) ATV trails through what seemed like the rolling hills of the "Alaska Savanna" that leads to a creek crossing and horse trail up valley. This couple is from New England and have a very interesting and progressive operation going on their property - obviously they enjoy themselves out here:

Peter taking a GPS reading deep within the Savanna:

Already through the Savanna and over the log creek crossing, now heading up the horse trail:

Getting a view of the high country, tantalizing us as we slog the lowlands:

Finally in the high country above an old hunter's cabin - this part of the trip strongly reminded me of the country my dad always took me hunting in as a kid - a wave of memories passed by me:

Black bear in the meadow, didn't pay us much mind:

Upon sighting the bear, getting tired, and wanting to camp high, we bee-lined for the north benches above the valley and ended up running into a cow moose and calf, very healthy and really spooked by humans. The valley was taking on a very wild, not-often-visited character:

After a nice evening, Felipe and I went for the ~6800' peak above camp while Peter & Amy, with an extra day of time on their hands, went over this pass en-route to a nice circuit that ended by going over the pass just south of Matanuska Peak and out the Mat Peak trail. They didn't even need the extra day, arriving back home Sunday evening reporting smooth sailing!

From where we came, looking down-valley with Palmer in the distance (our tent is at the bottom of the ridge at far left of photo):

Misty ridge, hoping for a break in the clouds so we could have a view:

Wish granted! Awesome view of the Talkeetnas:

Fun scrambling, typical Chugach-style 3rd class ridge run, but on shattered granite rather than Chugach crud:

Photo taken from summit looking back along route:

Felipe on the summit, looking ~ E by SE

Heading down the other side of the cirque, wondering what we're getting into:

Lunar red landscape:

We opted not to climb down this to avoid having to go in/out of the steep draw back to camp, so instead exited stage right for a scree slide:

Mission accomplished, totally stoked, totally worthless:

It rained all of the last night starting ~ 7pm (just after we had dinner) and all of the next day. It wasn't a heavy rain but enough that we were instantly soaked on the downclimb to the trail on brushing against all the foliage on the way out - soaked to the bone. And the log was too slippery to walk over (which we did when it was dry) so we did a tail-slide across, happy we didn't have to cross the stream which was 12" higher than 2 days prior:

Super fun, unique trip - thanks Peter, Amy, and Roxy for the great company the first day!