...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... )
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.
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... )
My OCD is good for 3 things. It keeps the house free of dog hair, it allows me to slave away for 30 hours on 200 lines of complex code and it can break long meandering conversations into concise bulleted talking points. The latter is a great trait for board meetings that go on for three hours and ski tour conversations that go on for three days. And so after a few tours where we talked about the same things I decided to put together my ski tour talking points. But a disclaimer is needed before anything. I am not a professional. Never have been, never will be. So take this rambling post for what it is... Lessons and notes from some climber and skier who can rehash lessons learned because of luck and not much else. ( 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... )
We went south seeking sun, snow and stability. Out the car in fringed temps and up Bertha Creek to Granddaddy, which we knew was in. The north ridge of Granddaddy was wind blasted rime ice with constant 25mph winds beating us as we climbed. Then off the top and down onto the frozen blob of rime ice that serves as a spotting stance. ( 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.