Despite deep uncertainties about how this day was going to play out, I have to say that I was rewarded for my optimistic thinking. Its the transition time between winter, spring and summer. In anchorage its almost summer, the foothills feel like spring, but the tops of the mountains are still full on winter.
So Lynn and I decided to multisport it. She skinned on her splitboard using mountaineering boots, and I toured in my ski boots with my fat skis. We wanted to have a back up plan in case there wasn't any ice, and also thought that we could use a new learning experience, combining skiing with climbing.
So we set off across powerline pass and skinned up to the football field.
The First Hill
Skinning on the Football Field
Once we crossed the football field we dropped into a gulley, that didn't quite have enough snow to ski, then put the skis back on at the bottom and without the skins it was fast and cruiser side hilling to the climb.
Down the Gulley
Perfect Grey Day
I have to say that no matter how bright my optimism can be, never in my wildest fantasies did I picture a HUGE, FAT, BlUE piece of ice...I was really imagining it to be a white, unprotectable snow cone, with water pouring out in places. I was so happy when I realized we really were going to go ice climbing.
Ultimate Fantasy Realized
Although I do have to say that I was kinda apprehensive about ice climbing in my ski boots with my skis above my head on my pack. Since I had never done it, I could only imagine what to expect. For instance I never would have guessed that I could strap my skis on in such a way as to not be able to swing my left tool without banging my ski....but my right tool was free and clear.
The Fun Continues
The First Belay
I have to say that climbing ice with skis on my back and wearing ski boots, made this climb a lot more entertaining. It just seemed so silly, that I just couldn't stop smiling at Lynn and I's antics..
Lynn Leading it Up
Lynn Leading the Second Pitch
We ended up doing 3 pitches of fantastic ice. When we topped out we put our skis back on and continued up the snow slopes around us.
Top of the Route
We finally came to a point where we could see the ridge leading up to O'Malley peak. We took the most obvious looking gulley up, and up, and what seemed like forever up. It was close to 2,000 feet of entertaining breakable crust, hard pack, and windblown pillows.
The Super Hill
Top of O'Malley
I have to say that I was feeling a bit worked by the time we got to the top of O'Malley. So I was super PSYCHED that I had brought my fat skis and if nothing else wasn't going to have to walk down.
The Run Down
I felt so lucky when i got to the bottom of the run and looked back at all the other places we could have come down, but ours was by far the best run left on the mountain. Although it wasn't powder it was smooth, carve able hard pack, and getting down was fast and easy.
Car to Car in 13:50!
I'm so psyched to have gotten one more climbing day in this year.