Ice Guide : Southcentral : Matanuska River : Little Susitna River : Hillside Pillars

Hillside Pillars

Rating: WI3-4
Length: 30 meters

The main climbs are about an hour climb/hike up the creek drainage. A couple of combined 20-30 foot steps exist early in the creek drainage and are probably WI2 to WI3. After climbing through a first pitch, take off your crampons, and hike up the creek drainage. A 30-45 minute hike through sometimes deep snow will take you past few other ice steps up to the main two climbs in a rock alcove. The left route is more sustained at WI3-WI4 and climbs 80-100 feet through a somewhat steep step. The right climb is wider, somewhat not as difficult, and holds several different variations for the ascent. It is roughly the same length. A shorter, steep pillar (WI3/4) does exist below the two main climbs that provides some more interesting climbing.


Anchor: Many alder bushes exist at the top of the route for a rappel.

Mixed Route: Between the two main ice pitches exists a bolted mixed route. Access the dihedral by climbing up the right side of the left ice pillar of the main Hillside Pillars and traverse into the route. From there, several bolts will take you up to an alder anchor.

ALERT: Avalanches can be deadly in this area. Avalanches have been seen to rip all the way down to the road. Check the conditions before climbing on this route.

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Lat: 61 44.587' North
Long: 149 13.180' West

Hillside Pillars are the obvious climbs on the east side of the valley situated high up a creek drainage before one gets to the Motherlode Lodge. After passing the entrance sign for Hatcher Pass, drive several miles and pass the entrance road to the Hatcher Pass Ski Resort development. Just afterwards, a public bathroom exists at the base of the creek drainage for the Hillside Pillars. Park near the base of the creek drainage and hike up to the start of the drainage. One is required to cross the river which can be difficult in early season. Many steps of ice exist in this drainage that lead up to the main Hillside Pillars which make for a full day's outing.

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