Skiing and Climbing Alaska’s Remarkable Ruth Gorge

By Scott Rinckenberger When I was invited on a mission to spend two weeks climbing and skiing the Ruth Gorge in Denali National Park, I knew I’d have to bring some pretty serious equipment. Fortunately MSR was willing to help outfit the expedition. I’m exceedingly thankful for the gear, but that’s not all I picked up from the MSR HQ before my departure. I also ran into a long time friend, and while I was being told to “be safe” by nearly everyone who heard the plan, it was the words from my friend Diane which put me on the right track for the trip – “Listen to the mountains.” Our plans included climbing lofty alpine walls in the Ruth Gorge, and climbing summits from their less-technical sides for some…

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Sitka- Running Wild

Story by Adam Andis/ Video by Alex Crook I used to imagine Alaska as a vast, wild expanse. In my mind, this state was full of immutable glaciers, unsummitable mountains, and impenetrable forests. I had always assumed that Alaska’s remoteness and immenseness protected it from the forces that had forever changed my childhood home in the Midwest. Now that I live in Alaska, I’ve come to realize that the Alaskan wilds are just as fragile as any other. It is just fragility on a larger scale, but the threats, in fact, loom even larger. I live in the small island-town of Sitka. We only have about 14 miles of road; the rest of our 100-mile by 30-mile island is jagged peaks, deep fjords, and dense forest. Incidentally, the coastal brown bears…

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Packrafting the Alatna River: The Wilds of Gates of the Arctic National Park

Story and Photos By Heather Balogh The plane sputtered through the water and smoothly sailed into the distance, leaving the five of us standing on the banks of Circle Lake, watching our only link to civilization fly in the opposite direction. Our bush pilot had just dropped us in Gates of the Arctic National Park, near the Arrigetch Peaks in Alaska. We were literally hundreds of miles from anything, and the silence was truly deafening. Our crew– comprised of Will, Amy, Shannon, Drew, and myself– had been planning this trip for months. Will and Drew had originally heard of Gates in 2007, but it had taken a few years to find a group of people that were interested in going so far off the grid. After a few discussions, we…

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Plane camping on the Kenai

Story and photos by Holly Walker “There’s a lot of air up here!”, I exclaimed, the seemingly endless Capps Glacier and everything beyond it making me as excited as a little schoolgirl. The Anchorage mountaineers stared at me as I sat in their kitchen tent and I realized how silly I must have sounded. I was comparing Alaska to the Lower 48 and was enjoying the lack of cars, busy roads and crammed airspace. My pilot friend Jake Soplando and I had just landed on the Capps Glacier in the Tordrillo Range in his personal Piper Super Cub airplane. Moments ago we were soaring above the snow as it sparkled in the alpenglow, watching the enormous peaks and hundreds of crevasses light up with a soft pink hue. “Jake, what are…

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