Bill Batin climbs Tram Rock with the help of an Ascending Path instructor. // © 2012 Christopher Batin
Just outside Girdwood, in south-central Alaska, is Tram Rock — one of those hidden gem destinations not featured in many travel brochures. Even people riding Alyeska Resort’s ski lift can’t see its rock face, bordering a creek deep within the Chugach National Forest. But its stealth only adds to its allure. This is where carabineer meets rock, Alaska-style, and where Ascending Path guides hold rock-climbing excursions.
The outfitter offers day activities suited for multigenerational visitors of all ages. Clients begin by visiting Ascending Path’s mountaineering yurt, a short 10-minute hike from Alyeska Resort’s parking. There, clients will meet their guide and get fitted for climbing shoes and harnesses. Tram Rock is another short hike from the yurt and, once at the rock, clients can expect to spend three hours learning how to scale a rock wall like Spider-Man. On a recent visit with my extended family, two of whom had never climbed before, we were all able to climb to the top thanks to the instruction and encouragement of our guide.
Ascending Path guides are experienced mountaineers, with great people skills and patience. The company has a two-person minimum at $129 per person, with other rates for advanced or longer climbing sessions. Private instruction is also available. The operating hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily from May through September.