Joe Stock is a mountain guide and photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.
Dreams of Brown Moose is a classic early-season ice climb in the Portage Valley near Anchorage. This 500-foot, Water Ice IV route has the ingredients of a proper Alaska adventure with a bushwacking approach, dodgy thin ice, overflowing water and deathly avalanche terrain. I went with Sam Johnson, a life-long Alaska climber, artist and Ph.D candidate to give it a shot.
We stopped in the ice tunnel to warm up.
The old avalanche debris was like glacier ice, although it was probably less than a year old. The Portage Valley has the worst weather in the Anchorage area. That means lots of snow and massive avalanches.
Sam leading the second 200-foot pitch.
Sam following the last pitch. Super fun day with you Sam!