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... )
...then the fun started. What in May had been a simple skin now required a traverse across a shifting groaning rock glacier. The traverse started with a jog across the Bellicose/Benign gully to a safe-enough zone where we transitioned from sneakers to mountain boots. Then up and across the rock glacier which consisted of glacier ice covered with mud and rock that shifted with every step. It should be mentioned that above the rock glacier is wall of loose rock that is routinely shedding the ubiquitous microwave-sized block... ( Read more... )
Read more for additional pictures and a ridiculously detailed route description. ( Read more... )
With sun and high temps in mind Jake and I set out to try the NW Ridge of Williwaw. We tromped up and over the Ballfield, dropped down next to Williwaw Lake and then trudged up the scree pile that is at the base of the NW Ridge. Then up the steep and exposed NW ridge to the summit of Williwaw.
Icicle Peak route profiles and pictures. ( Read more... )
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... )
Heavy snow and low visibility kept us close to home searching for treed slopes untouched by wind. Surprisingly enough we found both and spent the day meadow skipping yellow slopes. The only thing we found above treeline was vertigo so we kept the runs short and had fun picking our way through the alders. Sun crust is forming on SW slopes and obvious wind lips have formed on rollovers making terrain traps not an option, but NW slopes were holding knee deep dreamy powder. Todd was in his element and schooled us all on how to ski tight alder runs gracefully. Scott schooled us on how to properly raise a ski dog, even if the dog does hail from Taiwan. I schooled them on how bash through trees helmet first and fall properly. I'll apologize upfront for another Garcia tune. Sometimes I get in a rut.