Ascending Path Blog

Ascending Path is an Alaskan climbing and eco-tourism guide service operating since 1995 world-wide and since 2002 in Alaska. We are AMGA accredited, providing technical climbing instruction and guiding and naturalist guiding in the beautiful mountains of South Central Alaska.
This Blog contains some older adventure stories, news and guides musings... for more current news and trip stories, visit our Facebook page- Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

5 fingers & Eklutna

Had a warm wet day climbing the Index Finger on Sunday- then perfect hero ice on Ripple and Boonsfarm yesterday. A tree fell down boons!! ~Matt

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mat Glacier Hike 05/09 Sheelah Anderson; Louisville, Kentucky

Dear Matt and Heather

We toured the Matanuska Glacier with Heather in May. It is my unique Alaska experience. Even though I haven't written I think of you all the time and our wonderful experience of touring the glacier. EVERYBODY has to hear about it, the cramp-ons (and especially trying to find some to fit my husband), ice worms, how big the glacier is, how dirty it was, etc, etc. And people are getting presents of the glacier water Heather gathered for me.

I got to hike a rock glacier in Canada and we saw several glaciers when we did our "cruise", but there is nothing comparable to us being able to spend several wonderful hours on our "personal" glacier hike with Heather and all her knowledge, sharing and patience (especially with the 500 photos!)

It made it to the Christmas card (Heather made sure we had some photo choices), but since it was also our 40th anniversary it had to share the space. I'll be sending you one.

Thank you for helping me achieve one of the top items on my "bucket list" It really is one of the most special experiences of my life. We'll expect more of the same if (when) we make it to Alaska again.

Sheelah Anderson Louisville Kentucky

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Ice is thin, but in shape!

Had a great day out climbing on Ripple with 2 folks from the mid-west on Sunday. They stayed warmer than me!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

V-thread strength test data

For those of you who want to know exactly how strong those anchors are... check out this paper.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Byron Glacier Hike w/ Diners Drive Ins and Dives Crew

Byron Glacier Hike w/ Diners Drive Ins and Dives Crew

We had a great day out with the film crew for the Food Networks "Diners Drive Ins & Dives" for a private glacier hike on the Byron Glacier. Ryan and I enjoyed spending the day with these interesting guys. They were came out with us as part a teambuilding pre-shooting excursion. They were heading up to Fairbanks and North Pole to shoot an episode for their Christmas special. We showed them two ice caves and all the great crevasse and moulin features that were opened up at the end of September.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guest Comment from 8/24 Rabbit Lake Hikers

Dear Heather,

Pat Cable and I both agreed that your tour (hike) of the Chugach Mountain Front Range from Anchorage was the highlight of all our Alaskan hikes. Your knowledge of the terrain was immense and I will never forget you excellent direction at a critical time during our trek down the trail. Having lived in the city all my life, I was clueless about what to do, and you treated the whole situation with professionalism and style. WHAT A RELIEF!

Well, our best to you and our thanks to you for a wonderful day. Pat and I will feel very confident referring you, and your husband (ice hiking), and your company, to any of our friends visiting Anchorage.

You're the best tour guide ever!

A friend in Newport Beach, CA,
Rick Ruiz

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bull Moose a plenty on Anchorage Day Hike

Wonderful day out with Marsh & John from Texas that were on an Anniversary trip to Alaska. they booked several trips with us: Anchorage Day Hike, Glacier Hike & Rainforest Hike. On our anchorage day hike we stalked and found 5 moose and a huge Bull moose we were able to get fairly close to for pictures. What a great day to see so many moose. It was pre-rut so we had been consistantly seeing mooses at Glen Alps area on every Day Hike. The fall colors were technicolor, the alpine blueberries ripe and tasty and still farily warm temps with some flowers still visible. I was finding wild geraniums still in some of the areas around the muskeg which blew me away since they are some of the first flowers to bloom of the season! I gasped and my clients I don't think were nearly as excited as I was....I guess sometimes I am a geek and get super enthusiastic for flowers, moose, birds and animals. I never get bored of nature.---Heather

Friday, September 4, 2009

Portage Pass Private Day Hike

Amazing 70 degree day on a day hike to Portage Pass from Whittier. Had amazing heat that we could hike in shorts and a tank top!!! No bugs, tons of Salmonberries, spectacular views of the Portage Glacier and Prince William Sound, ripe alpine blueberries for eating and pristine kettle ponds and tarn lakes in the alpine pass. I was hoping to see a wolverine but no such luck! Just saw a docked cruise ship in the Whittier harbor, birds, other hikers etc.

Monday, August 24, 2009

8/24 Rabbit Lakes Anchorage Day Hike

On my full day Anchorage Day Hike to Rabbit Lakes we saw 17 Dall Sheep in the cirque and we walked up onto a family of 8 or so ptarmagin in changing plummage. they were amazing in color. the Alpine Bear Berries were glowing red and the lichen around Rabbit Lakes was vibrant orange! Great day out to a new guiding location. I'll get my photos up soon! Heather

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ermine on the Byron Glacier

I love Ermine and once we get the video up of this cute little guy so will you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tons of wildlife on 10 am Anchorage Day Hike

My clients and I saw 7 Moose of which there were huge Bulls with large racks, 1 Dall Sheep with a coiler for horns, and an arctic ground squirrel with the hugest goiter from packing his jowls with berries for his winter food cache!!! We hiked up to the saddle of little O'Malley Peak and had a great time! It was a bit of a hike for one of the teenagers. But she was really impressed with her accomplishment after the fact--I knew she could do it with coaxing and a comfortable pace!!! We had a great hike-Heather

Great Guest Comment from Ice Climber

Hi Matt,

I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for such a wonderful day of ice climbing! Ryan was a fantastic guide, high energy despite all the rain and my freak out when I first got on the ice. He was patient and kind, but more over very motivational. He didn't allow me to give up on myself, which made him a great guide for me. Thank you for a truely great introduction to ice climbing and I consider myself a new recruit to this amazing sport. All the best to you and your staff!

Annie Passarello


A Beginner Ice climber with upper ice fins in the background. Do you think she planned to wear the same color as the glacier? Color coordinated!!! At least she will not be in People magazine for a fashion faux paus here. She just makes the ice look bluer (if that is a word?). Coiling the wet climbing rope with the upper Byron Seracs in the background! Awesome blue.
Ryan Davis Soloing to setp up the ice anchors on the Byron. Another day in the office for Ryan. He has single handedly ran the most ice trips on the Byron for us. He rocks!!!
A Better image of the ice fins and the waterfalls that spill from the glacier and hills surrounding the Byron! Very picturesque.
Can you ICE CAVE BABY? This has Vanilla Ice's tune all over over it....ICE ICE BABY.....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Changing Byron Glacier: Inside the Ice

Ryan Davis took these pictures yesterday, August 12th. The Byron glacier is definitely changing appearance quickly!

The glacier and sculpted rock.

The small black hole in the picture above is the ice cave shown below!

The Carnivorous Sundew, Chicken of the Woods, and other recently spotted flora

These are some flowers, plants, and berries, and 'shrooms I have photographed around Girdwood and the Winner Creek Trail in the last week. . . .
I found this carnivorous Sundew, covered in rain dew, in Moose Meadows.
Black Currents aka Gooseberries
Dwarf Dogwood, aka Bunchberries

Star Gentian

Devils Club
Moss Berries, aka Crowberries

"Chicken of the Woods", a gloriously colored shelf mushroom

Alyeska Glacier Hike 9am 8/13

Ryan & Beth's trip on the Alyeska glacier. The Moulin is getting deeper ~50 ft deep! Who knew this little glacier was so deep with crevasses.....We run our Glacier Hikes in crampons & helmets these days. And, if you sign up for a private half day trip we can explore more of the glacier and lower you into the crevasses! Matt just guided 2 private clients for a half day on the Alyeska Glacier who were from LAPD and had a blast getting lowered into the crevasses. There's always fun to be had :)

Chalice Cup Lichen!!! One of my favorite lichen found in Girdwood :)