Thursday, January 31, 2008

Above the Clouds on a Beautiful Sunshine Filled Day

I love going out skiing with my friend Kellie. She's a total crackup. We had a super mellow tour that only involved three runs, lots of chatting, and only being a half hour late back to the car (I had a group project to get too). We got to ski in the sun, which was absolutely glorious. The clouds parted for us on the way up, and stayed below us while we skied.


Kellie demonstrating her idea of the "new technical", instead of merely skiing with your poles in your hand, you step on it when you lock down your heel, so you can add some "extreme" to your ski adventure! Did I mention she is an "extreme" skier? :)



Looking up at our tracks coming down Super Bowl, it was so fun I couldn't help but sing the whole way down....I'm a bit embaressing to be out with, but it was pretty brilliant.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Skiing....Brrrr and Beautiful

It was above zero yesterday....barely, and with wind chill, it was definitely below zero. I have devised a method to selecting my outdoor activities based on temperatures. Below zero + climbing = hypothermic Sherrie. Below zero + skiing = cold but not hypothermic. Based on this simple calculation I can more easily decide what to do for the day. This is where past experience becomes a blessing. I have spent more than a few days shivering myself into a deep hypothermic stupor, doing the windmill, and belay dancing. Those days are over! I have a rad back country ski set up now!

Ry on Corn Bisquit with our Line down Magnum Behind him


Our Ski Tracks Down Magnum


Beautiful Mountain Lines


Nice Powder Turns on Corn Bisquit

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Slave to the Textbooks

This whole school thing seriously interferes with my climbing pursuits. Instead of going out for long days, and long routes, I find myself with a couple hours here and there to sneak off for a quick ski, or trip into the Eklutna Canyon. After such a stellar December climbing ice almost every day, its harder to switch back into study, sit on my ass all day mode. I seriously start feeling like a crazy lady when I go a couple days without getting out climbing. I know I shouldn't even remotely complain, but this is my blog and my favorite saying is "I'll do what I want!!" So there was my pathetic spoiled brat rant on the injustices of actually having to be productive in life instead of just vacationing and climbing.

Chris Rappelling Down TJ Swann


So today I showed up to lab in my belay skirt, stinky poly pro and fleece partner was like..and I seriously quote, "whats that smell, is it me...I took a shower", and I was standing next to him, smelling my own stench, and said, "no its me and I haven't showered and this is probably the fifth time I've worn this shirt without washing it." I suppose I should care enough to be embarrassed, but I don't.
So I stayed in lab for two hours practicing giving injections, and then bolted out at 11 to head to Eklutna Canyon. I lost the rosh on Ripple, and then we went to TJ Swann. I am SO GLAD that I didn't try to lead it....I would be smelling a lot stinkier now if I had. So instead I threw a top rope on it, and that was exciting enough. It never looks steep, but it felt seriously overhanging going from the dry tool moves to the detached curtain. Super pumpy fun! I wish I could get out more, but I'm thankful that I still can get out and climb mid week at all.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hunter Creek

One good thing about this 45 degree plus weather is that the ice is HERO!! Even though my ropes got soaked, I got a lot of deep first sticks today. It was fantastic!

A Beautiful Cloud Rewards My Early Endeavors



Usually I am the only person out that has a camera, so I have a ton of pictures of other people
rapplelling, or climbing, and only self portraits of me at the top. Ry actually took some pics today, and I was so proud, because he usually just carries it around with him, but never takes it out. Although I don't have any of his pics, maybe some day I will.

Lost Chord AKA Ripple on Steroids



I got to lead lost chord today, and it was so fun. The ice was great, and I took the business side of the climb, which contrary to most climbs actually looks steeper than it is. Great day out!
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Friday, January 18, 2008

Skiing with Kellie

I think when Kellie and I go out we probably spend equal amounts of time talking and giggling...which makes for a very fun day for us. This day was no different. It was exceptionally mellow (which an abnormal exception with Kellie) because she had to be back to the car by 12:30 to catch a flight back to the slope. Usually I feel very afraid, but this day I figured since we only had a few hours, I was not as scared.

My Certifiably INSANE Friend Kellie and I


A beautiful Peak in the Distance


Twin Peaks

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Avi Class at Hatchers Pass

I was tenth on the waiting list to get into the Avi class this weekend up in Hatchers Pass, so I was incredibly stoked to be called on Monday with a chance to attend. It did not disappoint.
Overall it was a great review on things that I already knew, with a hodgepodge of new info, and definitely an excellent opportunity to refresh on my beacon searching skills. They teach you to be incredibly paranoid and conservative, and I felt lucky that I have enough experience to know when to be that way.
The only bummer of the course was that I got stuck with a mixed group of skiers and slow shoers....slow shoers are well....slow. They can't go up or down the same terrain as skiers, and when on the last day we finally got to travel, we were stuck in slow shoe country.....which I guess was a good chance for me to practice patience and the art of being around snow and not being able to ski it....
With that said, I would however highly recommend the class to anyone that likes to travel in the back country and has not taken this course....there is a lot of good information and skills packed into 3 days of class.

The Historic Independence Mine


A Ski Group Heading up the Ridge


Big Beautiful Surface Hoar Frosties


Road Side Attraction

I think the best time to climb on the highway is about noon, on a weekday. That way you can wail away all you want and not have to worry about taking out the cars below you with rocks and chunks of ice. Roadside was in marvelous conditions. I found myself staring and gooey ice, with a nice baby blue color, and hardly a speck of snow on my line. I went up about where GeorgeAnne is Rappelling was dreamy!

GeorgeAnne Rappelling Down Roadside Attraction

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Crack of Noon Club

I love Eklutna Canyon for the ease of access and the opportunity to show up at noon and be able to get multiple pitches in before dark. Billmeier and I had weak ambitions and still managed to climb Annie, Boones, and Ripple. Had I not taken my old, no longer capable of being dry rope, we still could have eeked in a top rope on the smear that is TJ this year. As it was the rope turned into a cranky, ice covered cable, and we bailed.

Annie Greensprings!

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

I will never again put a B rated Black Diamond pick on my ice tool. This is the 5th pick I have snapped in a year. Four times last season I looked down at the end of my tool wondering why it wasn't going in, only to see the sharp pointy end gone. I have only climbed about 20 days on this new pick, and about 15 feet up today I heard a "ting, ting, ping" and saw "another one gone, another gone, another one bites the dust" thats the song that was running thru my head, as I down climbed, thankful that I wasn't in a more desperate situation. Has anyone else out there had this problem? I used to use the T rated pick, and have never snapped one, but these B rated picks are garbage.

My Mean Face and the End of Another Pick

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Indian to Arctic

To steal and modify a quote from my friend Kellie, "Bushwacking with skis on, its the new technical". A long ski tour without a heinous bushwack on both ends would have been far to simple and instead we took 14 hours to stomp our way thru the alders and over the trees....very "engaging".

Betsy Getting Some Alder Time


The touring was beautiful toward the top of the pass, and in the middle. Wide open and cruiser.

Betsy Skiing Toward the Pass


I was super excited by the fact that I didn't have to turn my headlamp on until exactly 5:18pm yesterday. Although we are gaining time slow, its still adding up. Unfortunately once its dark, its very hard to navigate. Luckily we were able to follow another persons track thru the forest....unfortunately they crossed back and forth over the river, which had since been covered with overflow...I almost fell in, or rather my leg fell in and I belly crawled out over an ice looked so solid, after that we felt compelled to test the ice, which made the going a bit slower. Then it was on to more bushwacking!

Betsy Sitting in the Cold Dark Night


There are few people that I would want to spend 14 hours bushwacking with skis on and I was grateful that I was with Betsy. There were a few anxious moments when we lost the trail, lost our bearings, contemplated spending a night out spooning, and still managed to remain relatively positive and rational. I think that a GPS would have been helpful, we both felt we were farther along then we were, but it was dark, and we were in the trees and it was impossible to tell where we were in relation to where we wanted to be. Definitely more exciting than I had planned for!

Back to the Car!!!

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Three Ring Circus

Today was COLD!! Signs of coldness: hoar frost, frozen white hair, a brittle snickers and my camel back freezing.
Luckily I was moving fast. Hour and a half to the base, one hour up to the top, 7 rappels on a single line took an hour to get down, then another hour and a half to the car....all done on one snickers bar....I get so sick of snack food sometimes.

The Nature Center Trail


Three Ring Circus in all its Grade III Glory


Obligatory Self Portrait at the Top of the Route


Hoar Frost on the River

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If you want to Check out more pics click here
Three Ring Circus, Eagle River Valley

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hollow Icicle

I think that there was something wrong with my thought process last night when I thought that it was a good idea to go climb something called Hollow Icicle. You get exactly what the name icicle that has a dull thudding sound even when you hit it gently with love in your heart....its hollow, it has no gushy ice inside, its like a twinkie without the filling.

Bill Rapping off half the upper pitch


Lucky for me I lost the rosh on the upper pitch! I wasn't even that excited to follow it after leading a hollow first pitch, that's not nearly as steep as the top pitch. I told Bill that I thought it looked terrible and if he really wanted to climb it I'd take one for the team and follow it. But just to the left of us was a pitch that looked way more fun, so we rapped down and moved over.

This variation was FUN! It was a super narrow slot in the rock, with a smear of ice that was no more than a foot wide in most places. If Bill didn't dress like a darn ninja, you could see him better in my pics. But as is he's the black stemming blob if you look real close.

Bill Leading the hollow icicle variation route (I have no idea what its really called or if it has a name of its own)


The Whole Route


I have to say that the picture does not do this climb justice at all. The top is STEEP!!! And way longer and harder than it looks. The dark spot on the lower pitch is where I stuck my leg through the ice on rappel. It was only about an inch thick, I was very gentle on the way up!

I was tired today. I had grand aspirations of finishing the day on Three Ring Circus, but was feeling highly unmotivated of bushwacking to it. Luckily Bill seemed to be in the same mind set, so we bailed. It felt kind of weird not returning in the dark, but we started in the dark, so I guess that's good enough!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Skiing at Summit

Today was amazing. I left Anchorage and it was dark and cloudy, and by the time I could see Portage which is usually a big wall of white, it was clear. Cloudy in Anchorage and clear in Portage, this never happens, but it did today and that was part of the amazing bit.

Beautiful Sunrise



My Certifiably Crazy Friend Kellie (and yes we do own matching pink coats that make us giggle)


Kellie and Cody Skinning Up


I haven't been skiing much in the last few weeks, but I was reminded today of how much I truly love to ski in the back country. It is such an amazing way to stay in the mountains during the winter....and it is just so much fun!
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