Guides Day Off: Discovering Little Alaska in State Forest State Park

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State Forest State Park is located northeast of Rocky Mountain National Park near Walden, Colorado. Within the park, you’ll find the Nokhu Crags, a ski mountaineers’ dream.

Join IFMGA Mountain Guide Ian Fowler and AIARE Instructor Eryka Thorley as they take you into the Nokhu Crags area and introduce you to “Little Alaska”.

The Nokhu Crags of State Forest State Park

“Big lines, just a majestic mountain arena,” says Ian Fowler of the Nokhu Crags. Ian grew up in the Lake District of England and began skiing at three years old and climbing at age six. “I have always loved the mountains. Whether trail running, climbing, or skiing. Ski mountaineering just combines all these missions into the perfect winter sport.”

“Up here it’s still wild, quiet, and peaceful,” says Eryka Thorley, who grew up on the Great Lakes in Michigan but now can not imagine ever leaving the mountains. “Alaska has this whole concept of the Big factor, and I think State Forest State Park has a similar feel to that.”

The Nokhu Crags are indeed majestic and can be spotted from State Highway 14 as you crest Cameron Pass. They get their name from the Arapaho language, Neaha-no-xhu, meaning “Eagles Nest”.

Topping out at 12,490 feet in the Never Summer Mountain Range, which is part of the Rocky Mountains, this treeless, barren area is home to mountain goats and the elusive mountain pika.

State Forest State Park Nohku Crag

Getting to the Nokhu Crags

“I became a guide because I needed to share my passion for the mountains with other people,” says Ian, who not only guides in State Forest State Park, but can also be found here on his days off.

Many backcountry travelers will reach the Nokhu Crags from the Lake Agnes Trailhead, about 2 miles west of Cameron Pass. If this is something you have an interest in, check out our Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding courses. Already have the skills? Hire a guide to help you explore the Nokhu Crags wilderness safely.

Ian Fowler, IFMGA Moutain Guide, loves being in the outdoors and sharing it with others while teaching them to become safe, efficient climbers.

Why Choose Mountains?

Colorado Mountain School exists to share the power of the mountains with adventurers who want to learn and explore. We care about your progression in the mountains and want to provide you with experiences that are educational, fun, challenging, and often life-changing.  

“The mountains are a place to learn about yourself. They are a place to reset. Rejuvenate. And ultimately find inspiration,” says Eryka.

Thanks to Yellow Tent Nomads for capturing a Guides Day Off in our very own Little Alaska.

state forest state park nokhu crags
Eryka Thorley, AIARE instructor, loves winter. In fact, her daughter’s name is Wynter! She began guiding in 2007 and also works as a ski patroller at Eldora Ski Resort.

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