Showing posts from July, 2012

First Ski Mountaineering Ascent/Descent of Pontoon Peak

In April 2012, Ryan Murray , "Alaska Pete" Lowney and myself were the first to climb and ski the highly sought Pontoon Peak.   After warming up in a zone know as "The Books," which contains more ramps than a grandmother's retirement home, Ryan and I met Pete on a glacier during the snow machine ride into the Deserted Glacier.   Pete offered his local knowledge to lead us through the labyrinth of glaciers to Alaskan ecstasy. After a 35-mile sled ride, from which not all of the sleds would return unscathed, we set up camp below Pontoon.   A climb that we thought would take 8 hours, 10 if we were going really slow, dragged on to 12 hours of swimming and fighting up though 70 degree snow. What followed was the best ski descent of my life.   Take a look...

First Ascent on Half Moon Spire, Washington Pass

During the summer of 2012, before heading to Nepal, Alan Rousseau and I got together for a little training mission.  We had decided that before going to attempt new routes in another country, at high altitudes, on the biggest mountains on earth, we should try some new routing closer to home.  Many people, myself included, have a sense that the Cascades are largely climbed out.  However, on this day I discovered the truth is quite the opposite. Half Moon Spire from the Washington Pass Hairpin.  Number 1 marks our route.