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Anchorage Bowl Climbs

      Climbs in the Anchorage Bowl are located in the Chugach Mountains just east of Anchorage. Access is from the Glen Alps parking area and an annual parking permit or daily fee is required. From the Seward Highway, take O'Malley Road east up the hill, towards the mountains for those without a sense of direction or compass for about 4-miles. Turn right at Hillside Drive and go about a mile to Upper Huffman. There is a Chugach State Park sign here too. Turn left on Upper Huffman and go up the hill for about three-quarters of a mile till reaching Toilsome Hill Drive on the right. State road maintenance ends here so the road can be very slick and icy on this steep narrow twisty road. Coming back down can produce white knuckle on the steering wheel syndrome. Drive till the Glenn Alps Parking Area is found on the left. This is a high vandalism and theft area so do not leave anything of value in plain sight in your vehicle.

      During the early season or low snow years and even when there is a good frozen crust, bikes can be used to access Ptarmigan Peak. Skis are almost mandatory to access the other areas and once you posthole coming back in the afternoon sunshine you will agree. All climbs in this area are for experts only with skills on mixed alpine terrain and good avalanche assessment a must.

      Ptarmigan Peak: A true mixed climbers paradise with many turned tails and run, to include accidents. Hike, bike or ski roughly 5-miles along Powerline Pass Trail to the base of Ptarmigan Peak Couloir. All of these routes start from the North Couloir and use natural gear. There is a fixed anchor on Hookers and a few pins are found here and there, and one completely bolted route. These climbs are one area that the "M" grade is being used. Beware of extreme high avalanche danger.

     The list of climbs are listed in relationship to Hookers because Hookers is the most obvious climb in the area and can actually been seen from certain parts of Anchorage when it is frozen thick.

     The Wedge: Better known for summer rock climbing, this area possess superb mixed terrain climbing. The routes resemble Scottish mixed affairs but under certain spring conditions a good amount of ice can be found. It is long for a day trip and the area is known for high winds with the arrival of low pressure systems into the Anchorage Bowl. Take Powerline Pass Trail for roughly 2-miles and access the trail to Ship Lake and Pass. After another 2-miles a scree slope with a small lake is reached under two leering rock outcroppings. Ascend the scree trending left to a small gully behind the rock tower. Several pitches of thin scratching in a pseudo chimney to a chockstone, above this head left up a 5.9 crack. The route takes good rock gear and it is probable you will find a few fixed pieces to include bolts in this area. There are several more hard mixed-terrain climbs in this area but this is the standard. Rap the route or walk and descend above to Ship Lake Pass.

      On the far left of the Wedge, there is an excellent snow gully that will morph into outstanding neve’ in the spring.

     O'Malley Peak Area: Always known for the big cicle above Willawaw Lakes, the north face of O'Malley is now seeing lots-o-action both winter and summer. The standard approach is from Powerline Pass, go up and over the football field and down the scree gully to the headwaters of Campbell Creek at Willawaw Lakes. There is an easier approach but it is too difficult to discribe. Camping back here can be an adventure with a name like Willawaw.

     South Suicide: Seen in the southern sky from Anchorage, these two identical giants look very inspiring and when looking head on, very intimidating to the eye.

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