Site hosted by Build your free website today!

More Climbing for the Fat Old Lady
Alaskan Adventures Continue
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - May 2002 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -On to June

Our climbing season started early this year with a wonderful, and very unusual, warm spell in mid-May. I kept an eye on my beloved Flattop Mountain as, day by day, it crawled out from under the winter blanket of snow. Saturday dawned early, clear and warm. Flattop looked inviting, so up we went. There was quite a bit of snow on the flanks still, but almost none at the summit. The rocky scramble just below the summit was packed in with snow however, (shown below, left) making it tricky to negotiate. Jascha enjoyed playing in the snow wherever he found it along the way. But on the top, it was so warm and bright, I actually got sunburned up there. The official temperature down in Anchorage was 74F, a record for the date.

Flattop Mountain and the Bird Ridge Trail reach similar altitudes, over 3500', but there is a big difference. The Flattop trail starts at over 2000', while the Bird Ridge trail starts at nearly sea level, making it a long, steep climb. The previous two years that I've been hiking/climbing, I've started up Bird Ridge, but found it daunting both times. Twice, I went to the meadow-like saddle for some glorious views, but did not make it up to "Bird's Eye Peak." On this cloudy, cool day, I was determined to just keep putting one foot in front of the other until I reached the end of the trail. It took four exhausting hours, but the views were definitely worth the effort. As I paused for a snack at the top, an alpine critter-- a rock ptarmigan-- flew in and landed about 25 feet away, uttering a gutteral coo as it landed. "Welcome to my home," he seemed to say. It was a magical gift, definitely worth the climb.
bird ridge collage

More Photos:
Click on the picture of the Rock Ptarmigan above, or here, for a larger image and more info.
Two More Scenic Views From the Trail:
Click here for a bigger view of the stark beauty above the treeline. (793 X 572)
Click here for a large photo of Turnagain Arm, taken from the Bird Ridge Trail. (937 X 637)
Feel free to use any of these three photos on your website, but please leave the copyright information intact.
You'll find more of these large scenic views from the 2002 hikes that follow. Or go here for the collection.

On to June 2002 Adventures
Flattop, Table Rock, Worthington Glacier, butterfly, and tundra flowers
July 2002 Adventures
Eklutna Lakeside Trail, Falls Creek Trail, Flattop, Portage Pass, and wildflowers
August 2002 Adventures
Mount Majestic Ridge, Skyscraper Mountain, Flattop, Wildflowers & Butterflies
September & October 2002 Adventures
The Butte, Flattop in the fall, Gunsight Mt., & Flattop under snow
A Surprise in November!
A Rare hike up Flattop in November, Dall Sheep, & Moose Around Town

Back to Last Year's Adventures, 2001
Back to where it all began, 2000
On to new climbs in 2003

Contact the Fat Old Lady