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Hatcher Pass

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Archangel Valley Bouldering - Diamond, Fairangel, Monolith, Roadside, Indianhead 
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Glacier Creek Drainage and Snowbird Glacier 
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Hatcher Pass Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 3,886'
Location: 61.81347, -149.25537 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 396,220
Administrators: Jared LaVacque, L. Von Dommelheimer, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Luke to Zuke on Jul 17, 2008
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3rd pitch dihedral

Archangel Valley Bridge Closed MORE INFO >>>


This is a very untouched climbing area or rather unknown, full of FA's. The rock is blocky granite with alot of moss because the area receives steady rain in the spring and fall.

Hatcher Pass has a rich history of climbing, stretching back into the days of Fred Becky (not that those are really over...) Many of the loved classics were originally climbed in the 1980s. Grades can feel stiff and bolted climbs can feel very run out.

A rock climbing guide covers the climbing in Hatcher Pass, by Kelsey Gray. They are "Alaska Rock Climbing Guide" and is available in two editions, although the second is much better than the original, however like all guide books, there are mistakes in Kelsey's book, some mistakes include incorrect bolt counts and incorrect route lengths.

Bolts in Hatcher Pass
While a rebolting initiative has been happening throughout Alaska, many climbs in Hatcher still have bolts from their first ascents, when button heads, compression bolts, and other strange mank was the norm. Take every bolt in the area with a grain of salt. Many button heads still exist on very good routes. Some of these have seen partial rebolts, examples include 'Too Much Fun for You', and excellent 5.10 on the Monolith has alternating new and old bolts, and others have new anchors, but old bolts. for the route guidebook.

Current sites covering bouldering at Hatcher Pass are and a Face Book group called AKclimber, both run by Todd Helgeson and David Funatake. A bouldering guide to Alaska was recently released by Todd Helgeson and David Funatake with Kelsey Gray and covers most of the bouldering in Alaska and features an in depth Hatcher Pass section with great details and photos. The guide is available for sale at for the bouldering guide

Cleaning Boulders
Striking a balance between cleaning and leaving boulders in a natural state is difficult. Due to the mossy nature of Hatcher Pass, most boulders have a thick carpet on the top. Generally the rule is only to clean what is absolutely needed to climb the route. An example of bad cleaning can be seen on the Muffin Man boulder, at the base of the Diamond, you can see the orangish color from the road. Please be respectful of this beautiful resource.

Additional Information about Anchorage and South Central Alaska Climbing:

There is a gym in Anchorage, and also a small gym in Wasilla.

Also, to give an idea of the rock at Hatcher Pass, here is a link to the official Trailer of "Falling Forward", which is a video about alpine bouldering in Alaska and will be premiered and released next spring.

Rock Climbing Photo: Relic on Toto (5.7)
Relic on Toto (5.7)

Getting There 

From Anchorage drive north on the Glenn Highway, 30 minutes, to Palmer. Continue through two stop lights, prior to ascending the large hill, that leaves Palmer. Keep following the Glenn to N. Palmer Fishhook Rd., which will be on the left hand side, approximately 2 miles from the 1st stop light. You will take this for 30 minutes. Drive parallel to the Little Susitna river up to the "Mother Lode Lodge" take the sharp U-turn, head up the hill for a few hundred yards, then take the easy-to-miss, sharp right up a single gravel road,you will see the Archangel Rd. sign. Continue on this past a river and then over a bridge. The climbing begins approximately 3.75 miles up. The bouldering starts at the Aldershade Boulders(marked by a large cairn on the right side of the road) on the right hand side, hidden by view, but right off the side of the road, around mile 1.75 from the start of Archangel Road. A 4x4 is required if you want to drive past the Reed Lakes Trailhead parking lot, which is approximately 2.5 miles up the road from the start.

Guidelines for bolting in Hatcher Pass 

Over the last several years discussions have been started about adding new bolts to existing climbs. While REPLACEMENT of bolts is usually an accepted practice, the ethics in Hatcher are strictly against adding bolts to climbs. In very rare occasions this can be done , but you must have the express permission of the FA party. Any discussion of adding new bolts should be done only after that permission has been garnered.

If you are indeed interested in replacement of bolts, feel free to contact one of the admins, they can direct you to climbs that are in dire need of TLC, and may even be willing to give you hardware for that.

When bolting, please do not mix metals, and use only stainless gear. Climbs only a few years old in Hatcher with mixed metal (different hanger than bolt) show signs of serious galvanic corrosion and will soon need to be replaced.

Climbing Season

Weather station 15.6 miles from here

254 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',45],['3 Stars',119],['2 Stars',64],['1 Star',16],['Bomb',3]

Classic Climbing Routes in Hatcher Pass

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Hatcher Pass:
Dr. Horrible   V2 5+     Boulder, Alpine, 15'   Independence Mine Boulderin... : Captain Kaboom Boulders
The Slot   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : The Monolith
Physical Attraction   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Zulu Wall
Snowflake   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 150'   Reed Lakes Bouldering and C... : SnowBird Slab/Cornerstone
Orangutan Overhang   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 220'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : The Monolith
Randys roof   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 100'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : The Jungle Gym
Birds of Prey   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 90'   Reed Lakes Bouldering and C... : Birds of Prey
Thin As Ice   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 2 pitches, 130'   Reed Lakes Bouldering and C... : SnowBird Slab/Cornerstone
Rapa Nui   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, Alpine, 95'   Independence Mine Boulderin... : Moai Wall
Toto   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, 6 pitches   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : The Diamond
Voodoo Child   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Zulu Wall
Escape From the lemming Ranch   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Reed Lakes Bouldering and C... : Inferno wall
Zulu Warrior   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Zulu Wall
Makin Hole aka The Dorsal Fin   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Green Gully
Green lightning    5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Green Gully
My Pie   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Green Gully
Rebirth   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Catch The Wave
The Brown Spot   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 120'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : Green Gully
Tunnel Vision    5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 30'   Fairangel Gap and Valley : Tunnel Vision Wall
Terror Vision   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 2 pitches, 180'   Archangel Valley Sport and ... : The Lost Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Hatcher Pass

Featured Route For Hatcher Pass
Rock Climbing Photo: Eliza works up the route on TR.

African Dreams 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b  Alaska : Anchorage & South Central A... : ... : Tin Can Rock
From the boulder climb the left side of the golden Africa flake on mostly positive crimps on on the ride side of the wall, avoid going too far right into dirty rock. Overhanging to slab that climbs much more like a face climb. Move left to the crack and pull the lip on good holds....[more]   Browse More Classics in Alaska

Comments on Hatcher Pass Add Comment
Show which comments
By Mat Brunton
Jul 12, 2015
Hatcher has very fun granite and great rock for Southcentral AK. However, question the ratings found for climbs listed here. It is hard to give any route at Hatcher 3-4 stars, if using the rating system relative to other quality granite climbing areas. For example, it is hard to find routes in Hatcher that would be rated higher than two stars in a place like Squamish.
By The Shocker
Jul 12, 2015
Go climb the Quartz Crack on Didlikama, and then say that again. Or the Tennis shoe cracks. Or Catch the Wave direct. The best routes in Hatcher pass aren't in any guidebook and require an approach that filters most people out. Yes, I've climbed in Squamish. And Patagonia. It's interesting how people climb a few of the trade routes close to the road, get rained on, and then dismiss the quality of the climbing there. Mind you, there is a lot of choss to be found, but most quality granite climbing areas start that way. Without s doubt there are true 4 star routes to do there. If you know where they are and are willing to walk for it. Development in HP is still in its infancy.
By Mat Brunton
Jul 13, 2015
Note the verbiage: "It is hard to give any route at Hatcher 3-4 stars, if using the rating system relative to other quality granite climbing areas. For example, it is hard to find routes in Hatcher that would be rated higher than two stars in a place like Squamish."
I didn't say it isn't possible. I sure hope you will share more of the HP gems you know about with the community, Shocker!
As for relativity, at the Smoke Bluffs there are 35m pitches of magical granite (that are cleaner than I've ever been) stacked right next to each other like a climbing gym less than 100 yds from the parking lot (i.e. Supervalue zone). This is just one zone (of many), at one climbing area (of many).
Currently at Hatcher, one has to bike four miles and hike a mile for pitches that are good and fun (not to mention in a setting that is hard to beat) but generally short, spread out, and with questionable cleanliness. Once the road opens, it will cut out 2.5 miles of that approach, but still...
I don't dismiss the quality of anything at HP. It hosts some of my favorite ski descents; packraft road runs; huts; backpacking trips; and some good ice, mixed, and granite climbing!
Route development potential for granite rock climbing is seemingly endless at Hatcher. However, there are many hindrances...
By The Shocker
Jul 14, 2015
Note the verbiage I used. "Requires an approach that filters most people out". Biking and hiking for an hour is HARD work for some people, I'll admit. And using ones own eyes instead if a guidebook also seems to be hard work for most folks these days too... Your emphasis is well put. I guess my point is that a greater time commitment to get to quality climbing doesn't equate difficulty to me. Some folks preferr instant gratification, and will settle for nothing less. Difficulty is realitive I suppose. And I'm pretty sure the climbs at the Smoke Bluffs didn't start out as clean as they are now. Lots of scrubbing, and countless ascents make them that way. The type of folks that don't mind an approach are also the people that will do some scrubbing on a newer route to help clean it up for future ascents. The type of individuals that whine about approaches tend to be the ones that whine about a bit of lichen at a new crag, rather than doing something about it...

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