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Feb
25
2012
A Return to Skiing
Posted in Kenai Range & Skiing Tags: turnagain  

In two weeks I'll be at six months since my fall. Six long months where I was limited to couch-surfing, swimming, cross country skiing and mellow yo-yo runs (in that order). But Saturday felt different. Good snow and a flexible ankle so we went and went and my ankle never bothered me so we kept going. Up the west face of Cornbiscuit. Down the steep south face that you shouldn't touch unless ave conditions are perfect. Then up the southeast ridge of Cornbiscuit (Wolf's Run) and back down again. The ankle still didn't hurt and the south rib of Goldpan was shining untouched so up again. And up. Then down and down and down. I got back to the car feeling like I had been hit by a truck but my ankle barely hurt so all was good. A nice long day combined with the physical and mental stress of being in the mountains again.

We did see a massive cornice failure on the South face of Goldpan. Two skiers who were traversing from Superbowl triggered it. The below picture was taken at 1pm. Note the massive cornice in-between the rock band and ski tracks off the summit.

This next photo was taken at 3pm just minutes after the cornice avalanche occurred. I've tweaked the exposure so you can see the rock band and ski tracks. Note that the cornice is completely gone.

Later in the day we skied up past the debris pile, which littered the valley with microwave and refrigerator, sized blocks. Tumble downhill with these things and the body recovery team will be lucky if your body is in one piece. Next time you're walking up on these ridges take some time to think about Joseph Neale's fatal cornice fall on Byron Peak in 2003 and Nick Parker's cornice fall on Byron peak in 1967.

All that said the skiing was quite nice as long as you opted to stay well away from the big hangers.  And even better considering it was my first long day out this season. And I'm looking forward to some similar days in the upcoming months!



Gallery
  •  Dan up Cornbiscuit.
  •  Ridge on Lips.
  •  Dan down Cornbiscuit.
  •  Goldpan at 1pm.
  •  Goldpan at 3pm.
  •  Cornice debris.
  •  Cornice debris.
  •  Fuzzzy pic... but love seeing the dog and Carrie shred.
  •  When you look up and see no tracks on the S couloir you have to go back.
  •  Galen.
  •  Dan up the S. Rib of Goldpan.
  •  Y psyched to go up!
  •  Carrie and Galen heading up.
  •  Two skiers heading towards Mistress.
  •  Dan eyeing the touchy cornice.
  •  Looking down the rib.
  •  South gully of Goldpan.
  •  South gully of Goldpan.
  •  Dog tired.

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