Last weekend I had the opportunity to return to the beautiful state of Alaska to work with the Alaska Rock Gym and give a slideshow about my trip to Greenland. I have visited Anchorage twice before to be a guest at the gym’s annual winter competition and I have always had a wonderful time. The climbing community in Anchorage is very welcoming and reminds me of the tight-knit group I grew up climbing with back in the Midwest.
Trip to Alaska - Angela Payne
I have been to Alaska in the summer for family trips and I know it is one of the most gorgeous places ever, so I was very excited to go back. This year, the gym invited me and my boyfriend, Chris Danielson, to come up for their summer bouldering competition. Chris went early to teach a route setting clinic, then I arrived the day before the competition. During the first day I was there, I joined the setting crew in putting up some problems. I have very limited setting experience, but it was fun to play around and learn from the more experienced setters around me.
That evening, I gave a slideshow at the University of Alaska Anchorage to help raise funds for the Mountaineering Club of Alaska. The MCA is working to revamp some backcountry huts that were built in the 60’s and 70’s. It was a pleasure to share my Greenland slideshow with the community there. And always, it was really fun to see all the trip photos again and tell the fun stories that came from that experience.
After forerunning the boulder problems on Saturday, we watched the competition. The boulder problems all turned out really well, and it seemed like the community enjoyed the event. The next day, Chris and I went out bouldering at Hatcher Pass with the youth team and their coach Ted Phelps. Hatcher Pass is gorgeous. The weather was as spectacular as the views, and we spent the whole day at the boulders, which sit below a pretty wall that is nestled among many other beautiful peaks. It was great to hang out with the whole youth team, and we climbed some very fun boulder problems.
We spent the next day resting and enjoying some of the sights in and around Wasilla. Then, on our last day, we returned to Hatcher Pass to explore another sector of boulders that sit above an old mine. After spending at least an hour walking around the awesome old mining town, we hiked up above to climb a little. Again, the views were absolutely gorgeous. The setting reminded me of being in Greenland, but with more green.
It was a pleasure to spend a few days in a place like Alaska. It is always prettier there than I remember, and every time I leave, I immediately look forward to returning. This trip was no exception. Next time, I hope to spend more time there so I can explore more of the spectacular state. Huge thanks to the Alaska Rock Gym and everyone there for welcoming us into the wonderful community in Anchorage!!!