Tis the season for post-work couloir skiing. Get up early, work till 3 or 4, ski hard till 7 or 8. Eat, sleep, and repeat. And repeat we did. Turnagain on Saturday, Peak 3 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. South side couloirs on Thursday and Friday. 6 days of skiing in a week for a total of just under 20,000' of up and down on legs that haven't really seen that much action this winter. Which leads to a weekend of aches and pains at the desk now that weather has once again returned.
Soft slabs in Turnagain.
Peak 4.2 after 2' of dry powder.
Secret stash on Peak 3.
Another south side couloir.
Thursday was the perfect post work excursion. Up early for a full day or work until 3:30 then a short drive somewhere south to the Chugach south-side stairmaster crack couloir. The Chugach south-side stairmaster crack couloir is a splitter couloir that drops 3500' to the road. Get out of the car and go up. And up. There is no route finding, no skin track, no meandering. Every step is straight up and within 2 hours you can blast up 3500' to a perch underneath a rock band where you look down at the water between your legs and try to catch your breath.
Chugach stairmaster. Photo by Eric Parsons.
The fall line is pretty much a straight shot back to the car. It's the perfect line – but choose your day wisely because an avalanche would first flush you down a steep rock lined couloir which you would pinball off of for 1500' or so before being spit over a cliff. Ski it in ice (like some friends of mine did once) and you're looking at a broken leg at best if you screw up.
Beautiful view of Portage Lake. Photo by Eric Parsons.
We choose wisely and had perfect, albeit crusty, conditions. The top was crusty but very skiable. This was followed by perfect corn which was followed by frozen mank (easily sideslipped with whippet sunk into near snice) which was followed by perfect corn and a short carry though the trees back to car.
And finally back to the house by 8pm. Eat, sleep, and repeat.
Eric setting up...
Perfect corn. Photo by Eric Parsons.
Crunchy! Photo by Eric Parsons.
Refrozen ave debris to ice. Photo by Eric Parsons.
Icey dogleg. Photo by Eric Parsons.
Bottom choke... Photo by Eric Parsons.
And home free! Photo by Eric Parsons.
The punter cam video. I chose N.W.A. because of the great story "I Hate couloirs!" written by Kristen Ulmer. She concludes the story with the great line, "Chamonix... was my crack pipe bottom." NWA's song "Express yourself" has that great line "Some say no to drugs and take a stand, But after the show they go lookin' for the dopeman." My ski partners and I don't go looking for the dopeman... but for some these crack couloirs are every bit as addictive.
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