A Fat Old Lady Takes up Climbing
|Flattop Mountain, just outside Anchorage, is a popular climbing experience for Anchorage residents and visitors alike. Although I have lived in Alaska since 1971 and Anchorage since 1985, this was my first time up the trail. I was surprised at how difficult it was. The trail was snow-covered in several sections, and the rock climb at the top was especially terrifying because of snow and slippery conditions on the wet boulders. At the summit, the wind was powerful, and I was very thankful for the windbreaks made of piled rocks. I sat in a windbreak for awhile, eating a snack and chatting with other climbers, before heading down. Some more adventuresome sorts leapt off the cliff into a long snow chute to slide about a third of the way down, but I slowly picked my way along the path that took me to the top. The whole climb took me 4 hours. (Before I climb anything else, I will purchase some hiking boots.)
|Next, I did the climb that I should have done first, the Bodenberg Butte, near Palmer. It is a striking feature, rising straight up about 900 feet from the surrounding flat farmlands. Parts of the climb are quite steep, but not dangerous. The views from the top are spectacular in all directions. It took about 3 hours, up and down, and my new hiking boots were very comfortable.
|The Exit Glacier, a few miles north of Seward, has several trails. I had planned to take the longer trail that allows access to the Harding Ice Field, but I missed the trail and ended up going just to the face of Exit Glacier. It was a nice little walk, with no real climbing at all. I may go back later to take the longer trail.