I just returned from a fantastic trip into the Nutzotin Mountains. The Nutzotin Mountains are the last mountains of the eastern Alaska Range, tucked in behind the mighty Wrangell Mountains, right on the Canadian border.
Our ambitions were high: explore as much terrain as possible, get good images for the Alaska Range project and attempt a first ascent of an unclimbed peak. And despite difficult snow conditions and bipolar weather, we were successful.
I don’t consider myself a mountaineer. I lack the technical skills to climb anything of note. I do, however, consider myself an explorer, in the classical sense. I like to wander, look up valleys and sometimes, climb peaks.
We did make a successful ascent of Hidden Peak (peak 8514) and it was a great, moderate snow/glacier climb. It was a highlight of the trip, however, I also found simply exploring random canyons and valleys to be just as rewarding, one such canyon was what we called Grizzly Gorge.
I had spotted this narrow slice in the multicolored mountains on our approach to the peak and really wanted to explore it. So on our way back down to our pick up point when spent the night at the entrance to the gorge.
On the map this little canyon barely even registers and would not be anything of note. But it held many beautiful secrets and surprises. And that is why I explore, to find the hidden gems in wilderness, the nameless, the ignored. There was no reason to go in that little canyon and probably no one ever had, but it was no less spectacular than the top of a unclimbed peak.