Feathered Friends Blog

Alec Bergoef and Colten Moore set out on a trip to the Ruth Gorge in Alaska this past April/May 2018. Read about their challenges and overcoming adversity in the trip report below. Words and images by Alec Bergoef.

We’ve been sitting in Talkeetna for a couple days now, waiting for the weather to break so we can fly into the mountains. Just when we are about to give up hope of getting a flight into the gorge that day, Colten’s phone rings. We have been waiting for two days. I am pushing the longboard back up the hill to where his van is parked and he is yelling for me to hurry. I hop in the passenger’s seat and we rush down the road to grab our bags from the bunkhouse and pick up the pizza we had on hold at the pizzeria. Hastily, we grab our personal belongings from the hostel and rush over to the restaurant. When we arrive, our pizzas are ready and we head to the airstrip. We park and I stride happily over to the plane with two piping-hot pizzas to bring to the glacier with us. There are four others waiting, along with a pilot and Jim, the grounds manager for the air taxi service. We make small talk while we wait for our luggage to be loaded on to the plane.

Then it is time for us to board...

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A trip report from AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide Jediah Porter.

Jed Porter skiing perfect pow above the clouds on Alaska’s Mount Sanford. 1000 feet done, 10000 more to go! Photo: Meagan Buck Porter
Jed Porter skiing perfect pow above the clouds on Alaska’s Mount Sanford. 1000 feet done, 10000 more to go! Photo: Meagan Buck Porter

Human adventures are like caribou antlers; born soft and fuzzy with hope. Really, both start as just an idea, deep in one’s DNA. As they take shape, before they even take action, they are gentle and virtually unnoticeable. The promise of their power and prominence is there, but the scratched, hormonal, prideful reality is yet to be revealed.

For us, the climb and ski of Alaska’s Mount Sanford started as just a tiny, incubating idea in a teenager’s soul. In Wildsnow, the definitive tome on North American ski mountaineering, guru (and now mentor) Lou Dawson mentions the Sheep Glacier route on Mount Sanford as perhaps the ultimate mid-difficulty ski run on a giant peak. I stumbled across that literally 20 years ago, and the idea has simmered since then.

My wife Meagan and I booked some guiding work in Alaska in the spring of 2016, and looked to tack on a personal adventure. The time was right, the team was right, Mount Sanford was the call.

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