PORTAGE GLACIER EXPEDITION, AK

JANUARY, 2016

This expedition was a spontaneous idea that was formulated and executed in 12 hours. It's strage to think that just 12 hours before, we had been sitting in a coffee shop drinking some average brew and simply chatting about different ideas we had. We had no idea that 12 hours later, in the dead of winter, we would do the crazy things we were talking about. While that is usually how my adventures start...it usually doesnt happen that fast.

Our goal? To kayak and then summit the glacier, as well as inspire others to protect the glaciers that we could potentially lose.

 

I had been to this glacier a year before, and was stunned upon my return. This glacier has receded almost 70 feet back, and land is showing where it never has. At the current rate of recession, this glacier will not be accessible by kayak in 2-3 years. We sat in admiration for a while, appreciating what was before us, and listened as this glacier grumbled and cracked before us, It was welcoming us and warning us.

 

After being humbled, we pulled our kayaks up onto the frozen terrain and began our climb. To reach the wall that we would be summiting, we had to rock climb a cliff face, that was covered in ice and new snow. Odd's against our favor, and the icy waters below...we began our acent to the base of the glacier wall. 

At the base of the glacier, we set up our camp and unloaded our climbing gear. Switching out our winter kayaking gear and kayaking skirts for climbing jackets, rope, ice picks, and crampons. We went over safety precautions, gear tests, and the hit the ice. 

 

It was the perfect day. The temperatures were just right, and the ice was beckoning. We carefully climbed the wall, listening to the ice under our ice picks, and occasionally selecting a new route when we hit a hollow or thin section in the ice. It was awesome to hit the final section and summit Portage Glacier. A victory for us, as well as a memorable expedition. We were able to successfully achieve our dream here.

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***Some photos were taken by me on my Nikon, GoPro, or iPhone. A few were taken by my good friend Courtney, and you may check out her gallery by clicking on the button to the right***