With good reports filtering in from all over our objective in mind was Big Chief. Of course we wanted to ski the north face - which is everyone's objective when heading back there - but knowing coverage was pretty thin we all kept open minds and knew we had options should the route not go. ( Read more... )
10 hours before the party and 24 hours before the doctor, Todd and I were walking up a valley with skis and boots strapped to our backs. We walked 5 miles before we transitioned to skis and even then we only got to ski at most 2 miles before transitioning back to boots. We were at the top of the run around noon and collapsed in the 70-degree sun. The snow on southern aspects had already gone completely isothermal and Anchorage lay covered in a thick coat of Chinese smog. ( Read more... )
Ptarmigan North Couloir. Photo by Eric Parsons.
Sunday was one of those perfect days ... ( Read more... )
It was the winter of '98 and I had already been in Alaska for two years when I finally decided it was time to learn to ski. I bought skis, boots, bindings - the whole package - and I started the weekend pilgrimage to Turnagain Pass. 15+ years ago the Pass was a different place. There were all of 30 skiers who frequented the place and everyone knew everyone. I started showing up and within a few weeks the long time cadre of local skiers took me under their collective wings. ( Read more... )
A few seconds later he rolled out of view and I slid into the couloir so I could spot; not 2 seconds later I heard the deep whumpf of collapsing snow. Instantly alert, I looked down to see a powder cloud shooting out into the valley... ( Read more... )
Every now and then we get that long period of high pressure where everything rocks. The temps are decent, the snow is beautiful, stability is good. Then the winds come and everything goes to hell. Windslab creeps across the ridgetops and where there isn't windslab there's pure ice. Runs look good from afar but once you're in them you start actually thinking about things like home projects and ice climbing.
Ignoring tradition, history and local ethics we vow to rename this route. From henceforth it will be called Thin White Mank. ( Read more... )
Todd exiting Falls Lake Couloir.
Falls Lake couloir looked beautiful and untouched. So up and up the perfect splitter couloir to the ridge. Then down boot deep powder and heavy sluff to the valley floor and sun. ( Read more... )
Photo by Eric Parsons.
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. ( Read more... )
Peter above the Arm
Sun, snow and stability continues to linger in Southcentral Alaska, so we chose a steep up-track that we normally wouldn’t touch due to exposure from above. We tromped up the steep tree covered ridge topping out on a sharp ridgeline 3000’ above the Arm. Then across the subpeak searching for powder until finally having to remove skis and downclimb 500’ of rock and tundra to a protected bowl with boot deep powder. ( Read more... )