Alaska has climbing, lots of climbing! So much climbing! But most of it is totally untouched, and unknown. Maybe it should stay that way, and so I won’t expose any secret or unknown crags here. But there are plenty of climbing spots in Alaska that are easily accessible and widely known.
One such spot is Harriet Hunt. The crag is small, there are only four routes, but the routes are pretty fun, especially the arete route aptly named The Aret. There is a 5.7 crack route on a slab called The Crack, and a fun slab to vertical route between The Aret and The Crack called Center Route. Definitely some of the more creative route names you’ll find. I wonder if the person who named these routes was named Person Who Names Routes? Most of the rock in Ketchikan is very fragile, and so it’s nice to have access to a wall with bomber rock.
While the routes are limited, the drive and the scenery surrounding the wall are magnificent. It’s not often that an opportunity to climb in a rain forest presents itself, and so if there are a few dry days, I think it is absolutely worth the trip. As a bonus the wall is like 30 feet from the road, so your approach will be minimal, thus saving you the energy to crush all four routes several times!
Harriet Hunt Lake is just a few minutes away. It’s the perfect detour after an
active relaxing day on the wall. It’s a beautiful mountain lake with sweeping views of the surrounding Tongass National Forest. Perfect for paddle boarding, kayaking, or canoeing. It’s great for fishing, hiking, and it’s even great for swimming if you don’t mind a clenched b-hole and some winter buttons.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time to drive into town and grab a bite to eat.
12 miles from the crag is a Ketchikan staple. The walk-up restaurants known to the locals as “The Bitch”, or more appropriately named…Burger Queen. This unassuming hovel is home to what most agree to be the best burgers in Ketchikan. They offer beef burgers, halibut burgers, veggie burgers and chicken sandwiches. Sides include fries, rings, garlic bread, chips and hot dogs (yep hot dogs are a side at the Burger Queen). They also offer salads and chili, but who goes to a place called Burger Queen for something other than a burger? To wash it all down, they have a huge variety of shakes and malts that you can mix and match to your hearts delight.
There are a few seats inside, but don’t. Just across the street is the Arctic Bar. The Arctic is ocean side with a patio view overlooking the water. They allow outside food and The Queen is happy to deliver while you enjoy an Alaskan Ale as you keep a lookout for whales on the covered Artic patio.
I go with the veggie burger, fries and a banana, chocolate, peanut butter shake. But the halibut burger and onion rings draws some pretty rave reviews as well. Speaking of reviews, if you check out the google reviews, you’ll see a lot great ratings on the food, and an entertaining amount of critiques for slow service. All the more reason to head over to the Arctic while you wait. Enjoy the views, recap the climbs, and shake out the pump. Good things come to those who wait!
Location: Ketchikan, Alaska “North to the Future”
Crag: Harriet Hunt
Distance: 11.7 miles