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Two huge new ice climbs in Valdez, Alaska, are WI5/6

This area of Alaska has an ice climbing history that dates back 50 years

Photo by: Sam Volk @sammcvolk

Alaska has a lot of ice climbing, with some of the State’s biggest routes forming below legendary peaks. The regions are divded into interior, north, south central , southeast and southwest. Most of the established ice routes are in the south central, where 40 per cent of the state’s population is.

The areas of south central are: Nabesna, Chitina River, Chitistone River, Valdez, Matanuska, North Anchorage, South Anchorage and Kenai Peninsula. This winter two huge new routes were added to the Valdez area.

The two new routes are: Gate of Healing WI5 160m and Oberon WI6 200m. They were climbed by Sam Johnson, Sam Volk, August Franzen and Ryan Sims. About Oberon, Volk said, “I first saw this ice five years ago, first attempted climbing it with Sims three years ago. I have an intense feeling of satisfaction after having completed the journey by getting to the top of it this weekend. A dream was definitely realized.”

Valdez is located on the northeast side of Prince William Sound and is best known as the hub of heli-skiing in the Chugach Mountains. However, Valdez has a rich ice climbing history that dates back to the 1970s.

Lead photo: Sam Volk @sammcvolk