November 14th 2012 - Written by: Joe Stock

Dreams of Brown Moose: A Classic Alaska Ice Climb

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!

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