Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ice, Ice, Baby

There are some activities that are quintessential Alaskan. Ice climbing on a glacier is one of them. Not that you can't do this elsewhere but when you combine it with camping at the foot of the glacier and not needing to use your headlamp all night, well, it's an experience that is unique to Alaska.

Last weekend BFF Julia visited me from California. We went ice climbing on the Matanuska Glacier as neither of us had ever done that before. What an experience! We were able to camp at the glacier the night before climbing day. 

Our view from the tent.

What a surprise it was to see the moon! I haven't seen it since April. It was a bittersweet moment though -- I miss seeing the moon but it's appearance means the end of summer is near.

The next day we met our guides and got geared up for the climb. There were six people in our group -- I was the only one without any climbing experience.
Julia, ready to go!
At the Moulin.
Waiting for the ropes to be set.
Julia climbing.

Lock and load.
Up I go!
Trying not to wet myself as I descend.

Julia looking so stable, but really trying not to fall.

We climbed at two different places on the glacier, and were able to do as many climbs as we wanted. Our guides were great, although... Julia and I were told if we didn't stop whispering we'd have to be separated.

I am actually climbing here -- not
hanging on for dear life as it appears.

Super Twins!

Me climbing the crack. "It's just like going up a staircase!"
said Richard the Ice billy goat. Uh huh.

Our guide, Richard, not letting us fall.
Hanging out at the wall. This is shortly after I fell
through rotten ice up to my hip, in glacier water.

Our crampons were no joke.
The day after ice climbing we drove to Talkeetna and had lunch before stopping in at Denali National Park. Unfortunately it was cloudy all day and Julia didn't get a good view of Mt. McKinley. This means she'll have to come back for another visit!

The rest of the weekend we spent enjoying the Fairbanks sites. Julia witnessed first hand all of Fairbanks treasures. That took 20 minutes and then we had a drink. :) It was a great weekend catching up, doing new things and enjoying summer.

And you know you have a good friend when she'll hold your cat so you can clean his poopy bottom when he's having digestive troubles. Poor kitty.