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  • Castner Glacier

    Does anyone have information or experience on the Castner Glacier?
    It's located near Delta Junction and there are a couple of good, technical hikes and climbs.
    Information would be greatly appreciated!
    COtoAK
    Lurker.

  • #2
    I was intrigued by the yellow water and hiked from the road to the terminus a few times. I always followed the river and haven't actually climbed up on to the glacier (which is buried under several feet of rock and dirt).

    There's some rock hopping involved as you get close to where the water issues from the foot of the glacier but it's not too technical. The best route for a longer hike seemd to be to the north. There was a long low ridge that appeared to be an old moraine. That would've been my first choice.

    Hope this helps.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    • #3
      Erik,
      So you have done this then? Is it something that I would need crampons for or can I just do regular snowshoes?

      When did you happen to do this. It sounds like it was earlier in the season. Maybe it was around beginning of May, then?

      I know that there is an Alpine Climbing group somewhere here in the Interior that's involved with UAF and they take care of the Thatcher Hut (sp??).

      I just did another google search on it and this is what I found:
      http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/r...-princess.html

      I haven't seen this one with summitpost, but I posted another thread on there along the same lines of when and where and received a good deal of good responses.

      I suppose I just want to know that some other people have had first hand experience on this particular glacier than just the people that I read about who give trip reports and write books on it. To me, the real deal means far more to me than a person that I have no connections with telling me which time of year I should make this possible.

      What I know, though, is that I have one chance every year to hike/climb/snowshoe/climb with crampons this particular route. Now is the time to plan so that in a month, I can expect to be on this 'trail' or route.

      Lurker.

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      • #4
        Climbing Days

        In 1952 when I was 18, I got a summer job with USSR&M in the gold fields north of Fairbanks. Met a guy that wanted to climb the White Princess up the Castner Glacier. I had mountaineering experience in Washington State, and we met a third guy and set out for the climb. In 1952 the snout of the glacier was quit close to the road. We slogged up to where I think the Thayer Hut is now and made base camp. In the course of a few days, we did summit the White Princess. I think it was a first assent. There was no evidence of anyone being where our base camp was or at or on the Mt. From pictures I have seen of the Castner Glacier it really looks like it has shrunk. Anyway that was one of the better climbs of my life. Wish I could go back there.

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        • #5
          CotoAK, I have been on it a couple of times. The last time was last spring. You could do it on snowshoes, or skis. Crampons are not needed this time of year. It is a shrinking glacier so you will be on moraine most of the time. Lots of up and downs. There are some neat ice caves to the right as you first approach the tounge. I have never been in the hut, but I have seen it. It is a good ways up a lateral moraine now due to the shrinking of the glacier. I have heard it is quite a hike up there now. Go in late winter, february, march, april. That is when you have the best snow and optimal daylight. This is also when the Alaska Alpine Club does their trips in the area. Here are some pics from a trip to climb Triangle Peak.

          Skiing on the glacier (mostly moraine)



          On the m'ladies branch looking towards the area of the thayer hut. (I knew you would ask this question someday, so I decided to point for you)


          Beaver sports also sells a guide book about the deltas with some more info. I think it is only 5 bucks.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by woodman6437 View Post
            CotoAK, I have been on it a couple of times. The last time was last spring. You could do it on snowshoes, or skis. Crampons are not needed this time of year. It is a shrinking glacier so you will be on moraine most of the time. Lots of up and downs. There are some neat ice caves to the right as you first approach the tounge. I have never been in the hut, but I have seen it. It is a good ways up a lateral moraine now due to the shrinking of the glacier. I have heard it is quite a hike up there now. Go in late winter, february, march, april. That is when you have the best snow and optimal daylight. This is also when the Alaska Alpine Club does their trips in the area. Here are some pics from a trip to climb Triangle Peak.

            Skiing on the glacier (mostly moraine)

            [ATTACH=CONFIG]44154[/ATTACH]

            On the m'ladies branch looking towards the area of the thayer hut. (I knew you would ask this question someday, so I decided to point for you)
            [ATTACH=CONFIG]44153[/ATTACH]

            Beaver sports also sells a guide book about the deltas with some more info. I think it is only 5 bucks.
            Can you reattach those pictures for me? Says that it's an invalid link?

            I do have the books from Beaver Sports on it. Is that all there is to know on this 'climb' / hike?

            Thanks for your information. It's always nice to hear about first hand experiences on the mountainside!
            Lurker.

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            • #7
              Let me try again.

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              As far as I know, the book has the best info for that region.

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              • #8
                I've been up on the glacier snout in April, but no further. March and early April's a popular time to go back there and there should be a clear trail to follow unless it's just snowed. Most people ski though because the snow's usually much deeper than in Fairbanks. I was on snowshoes and wallowing pretty bad. Maybe wait for some freeze/thaw and then start at first light?

                In summer, the glacier is so covered with rubble that it hardly matters that it is in fact a glacier. You hit bare ice a little before the Thayer Hut though, so crampons might be a good idea if you're going way back there. No rope or mountaineering experience needed after the seasonal snow melts off the ice.


                Edit: woops, just saw this was an old thread. My response probably wasn't needed.

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                • #9
                  No. It's needed. I still haven't been up to do this and all the advice is well taken.
                  I know that the spring time is the best time to access this glacier, but I didn't know that it was accessible during the summer time.
                  I have always been scared of crevasses.
                  Lurker.

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                  • #10
                    I'd be happy to head down there with ya any weekend day that the weather's decent. There's a pretty good chance conditions will turn us around until oh, July or so, but I'm always happy for an excuse to head to the mountains and kick around for awhile. I'd be on snowshoes.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HEATHEN View Post
                      I'd be happy to head down there with ya any weekend day that the weather's decent. There's a pretty good chance conditions will turn us around until oh, July or so, but I'm always happy for an excuse to head to the mountains and kick around for awhile. I'd be on snowshoes.
                      I'd be on snowshoes, too. My husband would be with me. Do you think that this is something that could be kid appropriate? I have raised tough outdoors kidlets. All three of them have climbed Mt. Marathon and one of them has competed in Mt. Marathon. (The youngest one ran it when she was 7).
                      If it's not kid appropriate, it's not a problem. Our boys have enough boy scouting adventures almost every other weekend and I am sure that we can find something for our daughter to do.
                      I don't feel cozy in this 40 below stuff, though. I think that spring would be best.

                      Really? Are you in?
                      What would be your gear list for this?
                      Lurker.

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