Prince William Sound by Plane!

I had an amazing weekend full of all things Alaska. Rafting down the Kenai River. Glacier flight seeing over Prince William Sound. Hiking in the Chugach. ❤  This AK girl was on cloud 9!  I am feeling so very grateful for these amazing opportunities and for the stretch of unbelievable weather we have had!

My good friend Matt is a pilot and invited me to help him scout out a kayak trip in PWS via plane.  So early Sunday we got up and took a little flight seeing tour…


Citabria 7ECA, mode of transportation for the day


Downtown Anchorage!


Straight shot to O’Malley Peak… to be summitted later that same day…


Bird to Gird ridgeline… to be dominated later this summer…


Girdwood by air!


Portage Glacier


Pigot Bay… location of Feb 2013 ski adventure


Map of the Sound


Cascade Glacier, Barry Glacier, and Coxe Glacier


more glaciers… not sure which ones… ?


Harriman Glacier


My trusty pilot!


Heading South towards Blackstone Bay



My attempt at inner plane panorama pics 🙂



Blackstone Bay: location of May kayaking trip 2013. Beloit and Blackstone Glacier


Whittier with Portage Glacier in the background


“Hey, let’s fly over that mountain”


Ice fall!


20 mile glacier


Train along Turnagain Arm

Just another amazing day in Alaska!

Thanks Matt!!!!

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Denali by Air…

Alright, to preface this post I have to say that I have NEVER had the urge to climb Denali.  Mountain climbing to me has always been a hobby and a passion.  Though there is a fine line between passion and obsession, Denali crosses that line.  To me, climbing is something that should be enjoyable.  When fun outdoor hobbies turn into potential death wishes, that’s when it starts to lean towards the crazy side.  Obviously, there are days that are harder than others: puking from altitude sickness at the summit of Kilimanjaro, waiting out blizzards in the tent, and even getting a ride down Mt. Hood in an avalanche.  Yes, these are all things that have happened to me.  So….. maybe I have already crossed the line into obsession…?  Either way, I was still trying to deny any desire to try and summit the highest peak in America, and things were going ok until I saw the mountain up close…

My good friend Justin came up for a visit and we decided to take the flight seeing tour around Denali, including the North side and a glacier landing.  We lucked out completely on weather, as it was absolutely gorgeous in Talkeetna and on the mountain that day. 

Here are the best of the best pics from the trip… (and yes, this trip made me want to climb it!)




Denali (right) and Foraker (left)




Mt. Hunter…


Flying around to the North side of Denali…


These are granite cliffs are 4,000 ft tall…


Landing on the Eldridge Glacier…


The Ruth Glacier… 40 miles long and over 2,000 feet deep.


Back in Anchorage for sunset over sleeping lady…


This was such an amazing day! I highly HIGHLY recommend doing a flight around Denali.  Seeing the North side was my favorite part so make sure you plan for that as well as a glacier landing!  We went with the company Talkeetna Air Taxi and they were great.


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Hatchers Pass (4/14/2012)

For their last weekend in Alaska, Mike, Nick and I decided to hit up Hatcher Pass. They had been there the few days before and said the snow was good, so we didn’t hesitate to make the drive especially with the weather like this.

We skinned up the first hill and dropped off the back side to make our way further into the valley.  Which coincidentally is called “Bear Valley”… you’ll see why…

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Mike and I at the top of our first run for the day!

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From the bottom of our first run, we took a hard left and started a long trek to the back of the valley.  Crossed some major avalanche debris…    Image

Saw some interesting tracks…   Image

And quickly found the owner…


After taking a detour around the bear den my skins had built up quite a bit of snow.  This is most likely due to the fact that while we were skinning the snow had warmed up significantly.  Lucky for me, I have two awesome friends to help out…

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We stopped for a break after the bear sighting to have some food, Nick decided to get a backflip in… no. big. deal.


From there, we skinned up to the top of the ridge      

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Looking down at our second run of the day…


Nick went first (photo by Mike):


Then me (photo by Mike):


Then Mike: 

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Looking back up at our lines (photo by Mike):  


We jumped on the same skin track and made our way to the ridge again.  This pic is from the top of our third run of the day.  Nick dropped in below me to the left and Mike is above to the right.  Image Image

 Here’s Nick (photo by Mike):           


Nick got some shots of me: (haha… I took a good faceplant)       


But got back up to finish strong…

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So stoked! Definitely some of the best snow I’ve skied this year in the back country.  Our 3 lines from our last run are behind me…  


By then the light was getting pretty flat and we had a few mile ski back to the car, so we made our way out of Bear Valley via bear tracks:


Overall amazing day: snow was stable, skies were clear, weather was warm and sunny, powder was light and deep… I couldn’t ask for better spring skiing!  Ohhh and we saw 2 grizzly bears (I love Alaska!) 

Big thanks to Mike Records and Nick Matisse for the awesome visit and amazing skiing! See you guys next year!

Posted in Skiing!, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Day 2-3 Thompson Pass (Easter Sunday! 4/8/2012 and 4/9/2012)

It’s amazing how much can change in a year.  A year ago on Easter I was in Boulder, CO spending the day with my family.  Since then I have graduated from CU with my masters, packed up my life and moved to Alaska- kind of on a whim- but definitely looking for adventure. I can confidently say, I have found what I’m looking for in Alaska and I’m excited to see what else there is in store.

Last year this time, I would have never guessed that this is where I would be now… Image

Happy Easter indeed!  After the first day of blind skiing we were very excited about a bluebird day.

The morale around camp was extremely high and everyone was eager to start exploring the endless terrain around us.

Looking across the pass at Worthington Glacier…


This pic is where we were skiing the day before.  Carp, Andy, Jodie and I decided to head back this direction, curious about where we had been.


I got a sled ride with Andy and Carp about half way up this valley and then jumped on this skin track.

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I made it to the top of a ridge line to find Jodie 🙂  yay


The obligatory mom shots:   “HI MOM!!!”

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Looking over the back side of the pass….


One of the only group shots we got:  EPIC!!! (Andy, Carp, me and Jodie)


The boys went off to do some more sled laps in the valley below.  Jodie and I skinned up the ridge.  This is looking down on where we had just been.  The ridge line across the way is called the Berlin Wall.


Jodie, picking out her line… ImageImage



Jodie’s turn…    Image

With the first official run of the day under our belts, we were eager to get another!  We skinned back up the same area but to the left side. It was definitely t-shirt weather!


Hey Look what you can do 9 months after elbow surgery! yay!  From here, we dropped into completely untouched snow.


Looking back up at our lines.  2nd run of the day: complete success.


Next, we traversed up the south side of the next ridge line over.  Image    Image

Jodie led the boot pack… Here’s the ridge we came up from. We could see skiers working their way up a chute (Python) on the other sideImage    Image    Image

Originally we were planning on skiing the south side (left) but after realizing we couldn’t quite traverse far enough to the line we had picked out from the valley below, we decided to ski the north side (right) Image

I dropped in first… yikes!Image

Then Jodie!


After a full day of skinning, hiking and fresh lines, we decided to call it a day and ski back to home base, which was still over 2 miles away…


Looking at the tailgate parking lot and the other side of the pass…


Back at camp.


This picture shows a little better where we had skied.  The order of our day went from right (blue) to left (yellow, then purple, and finally orange all the way down).  It was an amazing day.  Perfect weather, great snow, and a wonderful ski buddy! Thanks Jodie!


Day 3 was equally as beautiful.  The “Micks” (which we had nicknamed Nick and Mike) rented their own snow machine for the day and went back up towards Worthington glacier. The other 4 of us, took Carp and Andy’s machines up to Bro Bowl to watch the competition being held there.


Pretty sweet venue…


Carp having some snow machine problems… nothing he can’t fix!


Carp, you got something on your face…


We did a quick ski run up near the competition, which is when my tele binding heel piece broke… AGAIN!!! I decided to ski down and try to do a half day of heli skiing (with my alpine skis).  Unfortunately, the groups that were out already kept adding runs to their day, so we got bumped until the next day buuuut we were leaving that night.  So no heli trip for me this year… definitely on the list for next year.

We packed up the RV and headed back to Anchorage…


Overall an amazing trip! I wish we could’ve stayed for another week.  Can’t wait for Tailgate 2013…

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Tailgate Alaska: Getting there and Day 1

So my good friend Mike Records from Boulder/grad school came to visit Alaska with his friend Nick for 12 days.  The weeks leading up to his trip we discussed skiing Alyeska and Turnagain Pass.  It wasn’t until days before he arrived that I realized Tailgate Alaska, one of the biggest back country ski parties every year, was taking place on Thompson Pass near Valdez during the time they would be visiting. 

Within 2 days of seriously discussing this with Mike, I had rented an RV, assembled a winning crew, done a major CostCo shop and finished my work for the week.  That Friday we finally got on the road after picking up the necessities…


This was our snow machine towing RV! whoot!  (and my awesome parking job)Image

Mike and Carp… Image

Stopping to take in the view… Andy “Gustov” Manos (Hands) from the top of the RV, Carp “the cod killer”, and Jodie “nose goes” Banks…Image

Mat-su glacier:Image

Andy and Mike enjoying the drive..Image

The drive took about 7 hours on typical Alaskan roads, it’s a good thing we had quality road sodas and cribbage to keep us entertained on the ride, haha.  Driving into Thompson Pass… everyone in our group was new to the area and you could feel the excitement building in the RV as we got closer.Image


Getting settled in our camping spot at Tailgate and meeting the neighborsImage

SATURDAY APRIL 7TH:  Getting ready to head out… Image

Visibility was less than desirable… Image

And only got worse!  Here’s Mike and Nick skinning up.  We had no idea where we were that day.  The ski and the snow blended together in a mess of white making it extremely difficult to get much skiing in.  We did managed to do a few short snowmachine runs.Image

We decided to wait out the poor lighting by digging a pit for some avalanche testing. Image

Examining the snow layers… (Jodie, Nick, and Mike)Image

Shovel shear testImage

Digging for Rutschblock test…Image

Nick volunteered to do the Rutschblock.  All our tests concluded that the snow on this aspect was stable.  There were a few weaker layers but nothing that resulted in any significant concern.

The lighting never got any better so we finally decided to head down.  The snow on the lower mountain was a lot better than we expected so we were all pretty stoked about that.


Back at camp!Image

Our neighbors cut down a tree that day to supply fuel for a bon fire that night…Image

With very little skiing done that day, we decided to get some more excercise by building a jump back at base camp.  (Mike looking oh so suave!)Image

Nick hitting the jump, being towed by Carp on the snow machine.Image

Carp taking in the view.. Image

Easter Sunday we woke up to this… Needless to say, we got some great bluebird skiing in that day… Image


Posted in Skiing!, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

What you’ve been waiting for: THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!! March 8th,2012

Just as most places have a weather report, there is also a daily Auroura report! Early March, the forecast was strong for almost a week straight.  So one Thursday night we decided to take a trip up to Hatcher’s Pass to chase after some Northern Lights.

Here’s what the forcast looked like for that night. It was rated “EXTREME!!!” haha read below for the website comments.


Extreme: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Forecast: Auroral activity will be high. Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Barrow to Bethel, Dillingham and Ketchikan, and visible low on the horizon from King Salmon.

Forecaster Comments: The auroral activity index of 5 and 6 that occurred on the 7th (today) is the result of the solar event on the 5th that was the subject of the previous alert. Aurora should have been visible as far south as the middle of the US on the night of Mar 6/7, as we predicted in the last alert.

A large solar event early on the 7th of March was directly more closely to the Earth-Sun line, and should produce more activity. The debris should reach Earth sometime in the late morning of March 8 GMT. This means that the resulting aurora may be visible late on the night of the 7th/8th from Alaska, but Western Russia, Europe, and the US will probably see activity levels of Kp=5 or greater on the night of March 8/9.

Bryan (my roommate) and his coworker (Mark) and I headed out to Hatcher’s and got an amazing light show on the way.  It was around 0 degrees but we kept warm with a bonfire and beers.  The aurora activity died down a bit in the early morning but we decided to stick it out and wait awhile (~4 hours).  Sure enough, the wait was worth it and we got to see an amazing light show!  It was the first time I have ever seen the Northern Lights 🙂  The sky was very clear and the moon was extremely bright, but we were still able to get some good pics…

When we first arrived.. not too much going on in the sky


So we just goofed off with the camera…





Then the show got started….



As we were leaving Hatcher’s Pass… ~3 am


It was a pretty amazing night!  The next week (March 15th), a friend captured these pics from Anchorage!







I don’t have a nice enough camera, so I had to borrow all these pics from friends. Big thanks to them! Seeing them in person really is amazing.  ohhhh Alaska!



Posted in AK adventures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The long lost camera!!! Recovered on Mt. Hood

This past summer, I was lucky enough to take a trip up Mt. Hood with my dad and two of my best friends: Kayla and Nick.  As some of you know, our luck on the mountain was not so fortunate.  After reaching the summit on a gorgeous morning (June 9th, 2011), we got a quick ride down the mountain in an ice fall/avalanche. 

Fortunately, all of us on our short rope team (Kayla, Nick, myself, and boss man Todd) walked away relatively unharmed.  Kayla suffered the worst injury with a sprained ankle, I was pretty beat up (fat lip and bruises included), and Nick mayyyybe (we are still unsure at this point) had a tiny scratch above his left ear.  It was a really rough day for him. 😉

During the slide, we lost a few things (2 ice axs, 1 glove, and my camera).  I thought it would be lost forever so you can imagine my surprise when I received an email last week from a young man in Oregon asking if I might have lost a camera on Mt. Hood last summer??

Yes!!! The camera WAS found!  He actually found it the same week the ice fall happened but had no clue how to find its owner until he went to unload some of his pictures and saw my resume on the memory card.  Definitely not as exciting as finding it 8 months later on the mountain; which is what I initially thought happened, but still pretty cool!

To honor the camera and that ENTIRE crazy trip, here are the long lost pics…

Bloody Marys in DIA with Papa Pana!


My Dad’s AWESOME rental car…


My two adopted siblings for the week 🙂


Hanging out in Corvallis 🙂


We are so adult!!! Especially when I tried to get into the car…


Nick and I decided to play yard drinking games with our packs on for training….


Tony and BJ, dominating, per usual




Went to the coast for a day…


arf arf arf! pancake


the boulder crew…


Zags + ginger (who knew at this point you guys would be roommates!?!?) 🙂


Chillin on the coast….


These are my favorite!!! because of course, Kayla and I needed to do jump pictures… but focus in on Nick in the background.  He did AWESOME job at photobombing these pics…


THE EPIC PHOTO!!!! we thought this one was a goner…




Never too old…


Timberline Mountain Guides… getting ready to leave 🙂


Mt. Hood Map


Trying to prepare ourselves for what was ahead…


The crew!!!


Yes dad!!! love you!!!


Day 1… weather gets weird…


Kayla is still stoked…



Made it to camp!




After a LONG struggle to set up camp, we are happy to be in tents 🙂 to wait out the wind/blizzard that night


Day 2: waiting out crazy weather and playing on glaciers!


Day 3 we wake up at midnight and it is silent, the weather has past and we make excellent time up to the summit!!!


Me and my papa!


The Pana fam extended! and our amazing guides 🙂


Todd, the leader of the wolfpack!


Descending down the old chute


This was the last picture I took before the avalanche.  We had just made it down the old chute.  We continued to descend safely for another 50-100 yards before stopping to take off our puffy coats.  This is when the ice fell above us and took us down in its path.  The noise from the crash I can still remember vividly and I even get nauseous when a plane flies by in the back country because the sounds are so similar.


What a CRAZY adventure!!! So glad we were all alright and I can’t wait for our next climb 🙂

Here is a picture from Kayla’s camera that was taken from the Hogsback looking up towards Hells Kitchen and the Old Chute.  You can see the avalanche debris and the direct path that we slide down. 


Posted in Adventures Elsewhere, Uncategorized | 3 Comments