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Rainbow Ridge Trek and something else…

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  • Rainbow Ridge Trek and something else…

    Along the Richardson Highway about 180 miles north of Valdez the road cuts through the AK Range at Isabel Pass. With a few extra days pasted on this past weekend, Tabitha and I escaped the Chugach Monsoon Season and went to check out Rainbow Ridge which hangs above the highway. Though there is a day route to the summit, I planned a two-nighter by hiking in along the moraine of the Caswell Glacier and coming up the backside. On the topo it looked like a nice valley there to camp and then do a long day hike to the ridge and return to camp for another night. Dependent on weather we would hike up the Caswell Glacier the next day.

    All the pics are by Tabitha this time.

    The social trail heads back that way and the up the scree to the ridge.

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    But we went this way. The Alaska Alpine Club has a hut back there on the other side of the glacier. I could see it from this spot. Fairbank backcountry skiers, climbers and trekkers have made this the favorite outdoor playground as its only a few hours south. Lots of big climbing history in the Eastern Alaska Range on minor but significant peaks.
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    We left the moraine and easily gained the upper area without a classic bushwhack. We hoped to get to the ridge visible in the center of the photo showing with Rainbow Mt on the right.
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    One might think water would be easy to find but the tundra was all dried up and the main drainage of the hanging valley was glacial till and grey. Somehow just as we thought water was gonna be a problem we found a clearwater spring that ran about 20 yards and then entered the grey water. So we camped right next to it and kept a close eye on the weather as we had been slushed by high winds and sleet on the hike up to camp.
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    During the night a Chinook blew with pounding rain and winds around 50mph, but the tent did its thing as it has so many time before. Thanks BD.

    Woke in the morning with the same winds but no rain so we took off for the ridge and contoured to our objective. The last couple hundred feet was soft scree littered with dozens of rusty cans from a long time ago. Perhaps a sheep hunting camp as some of the largest trophies in Alaska come from this zone. We saw no sheep as if they knew that hunting season is on in AK and retreated deeper to escape the annual slaughter.
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    We made the ridge and made short work of photo's and such as the clouds were acting up and coming our way. This is the view down into McCallum Creek
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    Nothing like plunge stepping down steep soft scree.
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    No sooner did we get back the tent when another intense squall hit and weathered us in for about 2 hours and, when the weather broke, we hoofed it out to the trailhead. And thought about other objectives…..
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    Last edited by Valdez Telehead; 18 August 2014, 10:33 PM.

  • #2
    I had been on the Taylor Highay last fall for a solo to Walcutt Mountain in the 40 Mile area near American Pass south of Eagle. On that trip I took note of a dominate peak called Mount FairPlay just of the road. So we drove 150 miles and set up a camp on the roadside where about 1 vehicle and hour comes by. The skies looked better at sunset as we caught come nice colors near our objective.

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    Its not that far but it wasn't easy stomping up through sponge moss, much like sand as far as fatigue. Once near near the summit we easily scrambled up though talus and such to fair skies and a rare 360 degree view of big Alaska interior between the AK range and 40 Mile country. Typically a mountain or another range block the view in one direction or another.
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    Spent another night on the Taylor checking out Chicken and the went back to the base of Mt. FairPlay and picked a gallon of some of the best blueberries densities I have ever seen.

    Had breakfast here and so should you.

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    Last edited by Valdez Telehead; 18 August 2014, 10:35 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Rainbow is the only place I ever backpacked in Alaska. I skied too on borrowed xc skis. Beautiful pics. Thanks Matt!

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      • #4
        Thanks VT, awesome stuff.
        Soccer is a game of feet. Hockey is a game of inches.

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        • #5
          You call that a creek? Lot's of places in the 48 that are called rivers if there is at lest a year round trickle.
          Originally posted by Valdez Telehead View Post
          We made the ridge and made short work of photo's and such as the clouds were acting up and coming our way. This is the view down into McCallum Creek
          [ATTACH=CONFIG]3438[/ATTACH]



          [ATTACH=CONFIG]3439[/ATTACH]
          What kind of critter is that?

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          • #6
            Short-tailed ermine.

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            • #7
              From the Fairbanks Daily News Miner comes a timely article about the area..

              Canwell Huts

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              • #8
                Cool pics and TR... thanks!

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