I love the Eklutna Traverse, its definitely one of my favorite trips in Alaska. Such a short ways from town and you find yourself amidst tall white mountains, skiing on snow in summer. It doesn't get much better. Plus this year Lynn and I started in Girdwood with a quick heli bump up to the Nordic Hut courtesy of Alpine Air. This eliminated the bushy slog with skis, boots, and ropes weighing down my pack, and I think it makes it similar to Crow Pass in that you trend down hill more than up.
Lynn with the Heli
The Nordic Hut is a pretty impressive site perched on the side of the mountain overlooking the Girdwood valley. Its larger than you would expect a "hut" to be. We exited the helicopter blowing cool air and making a racket, unloaded our stuff, the pilot flew away and then were surrounded by calm, peaceful silence. I know they ski up there without ropes on, but since we were headed downhill to the land of crevasses we roped up and headed out.
The Nordic Hut
Photo By: Lynn Peterson
Skiing down hill attached to a rope can test the strongest of friendships. I've seen grown men yell at each other and sulk over it. Its hard traveling on a rope because if one person slows down or speeds up you alternate between getting yanked backward, or forward, or having the rope get caught on your bindings. Luckily for me Lynn was a great travel partner and although I may have tugged her a few times, and maybe even made her crash, there was nothing but good times.
Moraine on the Eagle Glacier
A Look Back From Where We Started
Lynn and I Color Swapped
Photo By: Lynn Peterson
Because I've only done the Traverse starting from the Eklutna side I've never had to go uphill on the White Out Glacier. It always seemed like such a short and fast ski downhill. Not so much in the other direction. This was the most deceptive of hills, the kind that have 100 false summits and make you feel like your walking in one place on a treadmill. I recognize that it wasn't a significant elevation gain overall, but that didn't detract from it feeling a little Twilight Zone'ish
About to Start the Big Hill
Me on the White Out Glacier
Me in the Hans Hut
We pulled up to the Han's Hut at about 11pm, just as the clouds were starting to show sunset colors. This hut is NICE! There was a Coleman double burner on the counter, a table, reading material and a loft...all the amenities really.
Pictures Mix of Mine and Lynn's