|Bouldering on the way up the south ridge of Peak 3260, "East Singtook"|
Blog-lag considerably swollen. Writing of Fall adventures from late Spring. In this post, more sacred secrets will be given away, this time the location of one of the best roadside fell runs on the Seward Peninsula: four miles of gradually ascending ridge to the summit of the East Singtook (Pk. 3260), with a surprise set of gneiss pinnacles in the middle section allowing the rare mineral of actual climbing. Also in this post: the mysteries of the Little Singtook's (Pk. 3653) North Face will be probed, as well as little turd-clumps of climbing so small and unstable they are destined not to stand into the next Millennium.
|Grand Singtook (Pk. 3870) and Little Singtook (Pk. 3653 - "Sintauyuq?") from East Singtook. This pair form a prominent landmark, which is probably why a name was bestowed upon them from days of yore.|
|Marianne in glue|
|A lightfoot lad raised in the Chugach|
|Routes taken this Fall, 2017|
|Too cold to switch to rock shoes|
|Fell running action|
|Evidence of uplift. In the background is the Singtook, adorned with its usual raiments of gale-force wind.|
|Big league trundling action, looking down the north side of the Singtook South Col|
There you have it. What value in all this verbiage? What right have I to chronicle a mere hike in the annals of a blog which is supposed to be about real climbing? Well, now you know the location of one of the finest roadside fell runs on the Seward Peninsula, that is something.
|Singtooyit from the North. Grand Singtook in the center, Little Singtook to the right, and the East Singtook on the left barely poking up over a foreground peak.|
A splendid little fell-running community emerged out of the new school year. Nick bought a used Ford Bronco which served as an effective GLUE-cutting escape-mobile. David joined us and we headed west on the Teller Road with GLUE filaments popping and peeling as we shed our psychological attachments on yet another freezing-ass, glorious weekend.
|North Face of Little Singtook. Some of those white patches are ice. I went up partway and bouldered around.|
|Did I mention it was cold?|
Penny River Crags
The next Fall weekend featured a trip out to a nameless blob of rock near the Penny River, with David. Only an aficionado of obscure bouldering could see any value in such a desiccated turd pile of twice-morphed schist, but I managed to talk David into the proposition that obscure bouldering was a type of DaDaist art form, which appealed to his avant-garde, culturally-refined nature, and he began to discern the emperors clothes that transformed a schist-pile into a jungle gym of fun. Besides, he was eager to play with his new crampons and ice axe, and quickly learned what a solid, reliable handhold was to be found in an axe sunken in frozen turf. We put up multiple major first ascents of numerous dry-tool problems including Taiguaq (Read It), Ayauppiak (Sun Dog), Suama (Fortitude), all of them so far into the V0— range of difficulty that their identity will soon fade, and their geologic structure erode.
|Location of purported caldera|
The Fox Creek Caldera Hoax
Several years back, Mr. Collins and his cross-country team were developing the mountain running course destined to be the standard unit for all Kigluaik mountain runs in the future: Fox Creek. There he discovered a caldera, up at the very head of the west fork of Fox Creek. Our next, featured, Fall fell run chronicles an expedition to investigate this improbable geological feature. On a freezing-ass windy Saturday, a mass of fell runners consisting of doctors, lawyers, teachers, and dogs, headed up Fox, and hung a left at the sentient boulders, which are really donkeys that have been turned to stone through bad luck. A short series of moraines led to the caldera.
|The fell running community of Nome|
A small tarn, a kettle lake, perhaps, lay at the center of a perfectly-round, glacial cirque. Any geologist will already know that our quest was absurd, a continuation of the DaDaist ethic that drove these Fall adventures. The point was all the fell running we did. I had heard theories of another caldera in the Kigluaik, this one located in the round cirque under Mosquito Pass Peak, as if the Kigs were a burbling bed of magma drizzled like salad dressing on top of a twice-subducted gneiss dome, with all the attendant glacial processes taking place on top of it.
|I had visited the caldera two summers before, when Lucy and I climbed up the hill above it. This picture looks straight down into it, with Lucy napping on the edge of a fairly steep cliff.|