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, September 7, 2010

Mushrooms Abound!

A little bit of sun, a little bit of rain... A little more rain and mushrooms spring up everywhere.

Lucky participants in the Girdwood Fungus Festival experienced a mushroom bonanza this year.
Check out the latest sprout on the Winner Creek Trail:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Crow Pass Hike

We hiked the Crow Pass Trail with Daniel & Heidi in early August. It was a classic Alaska day - cool and misty - with testy winds on the pass. Wonderful!

Thanks, Daniel and Heidi, for the photos and fine companionship.

On the route up the pass.

The way down.

Raven Glacier

Daniel & Heidi at the alpine tarn.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bears in Girdwood!

Bear sightings have increased this past week. A sow and cubs have been frequenting the berry patches, and (unfortunately) this small yearling seems to be struggling a bit, resorting to scavenging.

Our guide Lisa Portune caught this big blackie in action just outside her house. Bear-proof trash cans do work!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rain, Alaska, Rain

It has been a wet, wet summer. Even by the soggy standards set by hardy Girdwoodians. Luck for us, we have hiked and climbed with the most intrepid and adventurous souls!
And this.... the interplay of changing light, mist and fog, green and snow makes for an ephemeral photographic experience.
Check it out!
Guide Lisa Portune & the Jones Family, on the ridge above the North Face

A peek over the North Face, into the mist.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Take Wings: Native Cross cultural immersion: ROCK CLIMBING

"I just wanted to thank you and your team for such a great experience for our Take Wing students. Everyone at Ascending Paths was so energetic and positive, and it was great to hear the encouragement that you all gave to get our students to reach just a little bit higher. And the metaphor stuck! One of the girls, who barely would say a word in the beginning or our camp, decided that she would read her mission statement at the commencement - a big step! When she got to the podium, she froze, and went to sit back down. Our staff gave her the "reach a little higher" hand signal, and she took a deep breath, got back in front of the crowd, and knocked them out with what she had to say. I'm sure that many young lives were touched the same way.

So, I hope you and your team have a great summer, and I hope we can work together again in the future!"
Some of the' Take Wings' group on a Rainforest Hike
 Photos from the 'Take Wings' Rock Climb:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Early Season Glacier Hke

We love getting these!!!

"Hi There,
The hike with Ryan the other day was great! Ryan definitely loves what he's doing, and he was constantly concerned about our safety -- good to have in a guide. We all had a good time but wished we could have stayed a little longer on the glacier and maybe do some climbing."

"Thanks for the experience,"


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wilderness First Aid and WFR Refresher

Wilderness First Aid and WFR Refresher 
April 23-25
Fox Run Lodge, Glenn Highway, Palmer AK

Wilderness First Responder 
June 1-9
Fox Run Lodge, Glenn Highway, Palmer AK

Tent sites and lodging available for a minimal additional fee. Certification is offered through SOLO. Visit our website at to register now!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ice Climbing in Alaska in the Winter can be FUN!!!

Hey Matt,

We just wanted to thank you for the great time we had yesterday. Of all of our adventures in Alaska, including: snow-machining, skiing, hiking, and sport shooting, our ice climbing trip with you was by far our favorite activity. When we began, the climbing was difficult, however, by the end of the day we both had reached the top of our climb multiple times. Not only was the climbing challenging, but it was beautiful and greatly rewarding. Your expertise, guidance, and lessons made the climbing much easier, as well as more comfortable and enjoyable then we could have ever imagined. We look forward to climbing with you again in the future.

Thanks again Matt,

Vince and Cate (Manhattan, KS)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Ak Ice Fest 2010

Getting air above the crux over hang dry tool curtain
Ah ha, proof that this guy was out of bounds...the rules were that they had to work the rock section with only ice tools in the ice band to the right of the orange paint.
Pulling Down Hard
Hitting the mixed comp route, all 6'8" of Roger Sparks hailing from the amazing athletes of the 210th PJ section, who are basically the Air National Guards Special Forces Unit. Three PJ's competed & all flashed the comp in great style! I think even two of them won 2nd & 3rd place, too....
This guy had great technique & form!!!

Ak Ice Fest 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ice Climbing with Joe Butler

We would like to thank you for the fantastic ice climbing experience that we had last week. Joe Butler was a true professional and he quickly gained our trust. His knowledge and experience was greatly appreciated.

Thanks for a great time, we will be back

George and Abigail O'Connor

Friday, February 12, 2010

I love getting these emails

Bills Crampons
Clients crossing the frozen river
Ice Climbing hardware, ice screws, carabiners, slings
Getting Rowdy on the mixed line on the left of Ripple!

"Matt & Bill,

Thanks so very much for an outstanding Alaskan adventure! BJ and I had an amazing time! We are hooked! Bill was a great guide and a lot of fun! He did a great job at putting up with us! ahhaha!

We have some great photos and some wonderful memories!"

Thanks again, Allison Post

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ice Climbing Kids Corner Caribou Creek

Just wanted to say thanks again for helping us set this up (ice climbing). We ha a fantastic time and Bill was a great guide. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far. The other being the two moose who licked our rental car clean outside our window this morning!


Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snowshow Hike 01/02/2010

I snowshoed with a really nice couple and their 13y/o daughter today from New Mexico. We went to the Glen Alps area and hiked the Williwaw drainage. We saw many tracks of: snowshoe hare, ptarmigan, fox and the best LYNX tracks!!!! I have never seen Lynx tracks in the snow and they were unmistakable (larger than fox and dog but just smaller than black bear and super furry!!!) The tracks led right to a year-round creek that I tend to snowshoe around for that very purpose; to look for animals and their tracks. We didn't get to see the fury elusive Alaskan wildcat but I just pictured it in my mind stalking its way through the snow to a very cold drink of fresh spring water in the winter darkness of Alaska.