Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday's day-trip was worth a few pics with more than just my usual scenic shots. I, surprisingly, found someone who wanted to tag along. The unwitting individual was newly arrived Nome-ite, Chris, who was enthusiastically energetic about Nome’s outdoors. Normally, (b/c of the silly factor) my outings are solo but I think we both clicked because we are on the same wavelength.
Is it an alien?
The outing consisted of climbing up Mt. Osborn the highest peak (4,700 ft) on the Seward Peninsula. I have been up there a few times in various ways and in very diverse conditions. Some might consider our small elevations not "climbing" worthy but the Kigluaik Range has sharp faces, sketchy scree, loose rock, exposed ridges and it is quite remote. This wasn't so much a madventure as a silly trip... I didn't just want to hike into the valley and top Osbourne but I wanted drag, push, ride, kick my 26-er beater bike to the top of Osborne. The trail is virtually a non-existent 10 miles up grand central valley then a 2.5 mile vertical scramble up the southwest ridgeline. As most outings off the gravel roads there really is no trail through the tundra and is pieced together by luck, always fading old 4-wheeler tracks and plain ole willow-thrashing.
It was comedy at its best. We started out at 9:30 am and I managed to ride the first 5 miles before I found some tacos.
I just had to bring some part of the bike up Osborne so I grabbed the taco tire and strapped it on while leaving the bike till the return.
Chris (smartly) hiked so he didn’t have to worry about mutilating himself with bike parts. We continued on and the weather was a low 40’s that turned to low 30’s when we started climbing up the base of Osborn. The peaks were obscured in clouds and there was snow, something I didn’t really expect so soon.
With no crampons and entering a snow storm up top we stopped about 400 vertical ft (1/4 mile) shy of the peak. Too sketchy and too slippery for the last section up top.
It’s not the first time Osborn turned me back. We smoked it back down the valley with only one adrenaline rush with a bear cub encounter that had my heart racing wondering which willow momma was in?? We skirted the bears, I picked up the rest of my bike and dragged it to the truck by 9:30 pm.
Posted by Phil Hofstetter