Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eagle River Valley

Super fun day out top-roping steep ice that I was happy to not be leading. Great company with Ry, George Anne and Andrew. The skiing back to Echo Bend was super cruiser and hard packed. The air was cold in the bottom of the valley, but warmed up at least 10 degrees at the base of the climbs.

Skiing up the River


The Hurdy Gurdy Routes


Route Next to Spruce Pitch


Great Friends

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hicks Creek Exploration

I don't remember exactly what Billmier said that made me turn around, but when I looked back all I saw was his arms and head sticking out from the snow. By the time I got there he was all the way in the hole looking at how far under his snow machine it extended. That was where we abandoned the machine and started back on skis.

Billmier's Hole


Coming out of the Hole


Awesome Narrow Canyon Skiing


Big Walls, No Ice, Crappy Rock

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Unfortunately, no climbing to be had this day, but I feel like I got to explore a good chunk of Hicks creek. I could see where the two climbs would have been, but there was only a small smear of ice and lots of stunning, but unconsolidated rock....huge potential if there was ever more moisture.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pillar X

A brilliant day out. Full of fluffy snow moments and weak snow bridges, alders being a blessing and curse, plus the most amazing pillar I've ever seen.




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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spreading Buttercream in Turnagain Pass

The Sunny side of Turnagain pass may allow snow machines, but I really had no problem overlooking the noise and smell for the feeling of direct sunlight. A line of people were making their way up Sunburst in the shade, and I just wanted no part of that. So Ry and I took off across the shady valley up to the sun where there was already a skin track.

Ryan and I



This line skied so well!!! It was perfect soft snow, such a beautiful feeling.

The Bonus Run


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The front of Sunny side also skied really well, a thoroughly amazing day out.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Big T and the Mitre

I call her Big T not because her stature is large, but because of her life and accomplishments and also her first name is Tanya. Its been a goal to coordinate with this very busy person to go climbing all winter, and it finally happened. There aren't many people I know that have 2 snow machines and the skills to drag me up the when Tanya let me decide where to was the obvious choice.

I didn't realize what a habit rosh-sham-bo'ing had become until Tanya said she never rosh's....I just don't know how to decide who should lead fairly without the rosh. It takes all the "well if you really want it....and indecision out of decision making....but I guess it only works on the assumption that both people want to lead the pitch. Long story short, we roshed and Tanya won the first lead.

Me and Big T and the Top of Pitch One


I definitely got to lead the most pleasant pitch of the day. It was succulent and as beautiful as ice ever gets. It was sustained, but never overwhelming, and it was long. All the pitches on this route are long.

Tanya Coming up Pitch 3


The last pitch didn't look that bad to me, and Tanya thought it looked good too. So off she went...when she started putting in screws and said she was pumped 20 feet off the start, I started to wonder if this was one of those "steeper than it looks" moments. When I followed it in the dark, I understood immediately how she was getting a bit was brutal vertical to almost overhanging, multiple consecutive moves required serious body tension to not barn door off the route, plus the ice up close was more aerated, brittle and purely gnarly than it looked from the ground. It was a super burly lead, but Big T pulled it off in fine style. I was psyched that fate aka the rosh had spared me the lead this go, I would have seriously cried.

Tanya Starting Pitch 5


Unfortunately due to circumstances we stopped about 20 feet shy of the true top of the pitch in an ice cave where we rapped off. It was dark, we were both pumped and it was late.

Ice Cave Happiness!

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An awesome day out, and hopefully with more to come!!

Slide Show

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunburst, Turnagain Pass

Beautiful day out with light fluffy powder and a rock hard base.




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Friday, January 8, 2010

Sick and Unmotivated

I've been sick for a full week now. The first 4 days were debilitating, I had to sit, lay, and sleep all day. The next 3 days were snotty with a hacking cough and lots of lugies. On day 5 I couldn't stand another minute of sitting so I went for a "ski" and was in direct sunlight for about 20 minutes. It was glorious.


Now I am mostly better, still a bit snotty and low energy. But mostly I feel unmotivated. I need to go explore some different areas. I've already done a ton of repeats this winter, which is fine...but I really need to go do something new!
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Tracking: Eklutna Canyon

Things are growing out in the canyon....



The Dam

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Its Still Big and Steep: Gravel Creek Pillar

After skiing Ry and I were going to head straight to Valdez, but we got side tracked and ended up going up to the Bench to visit Bill. Since we were up there it only made sense to stay a day and go climb at Gravel creek....except that it was stupid cold out there...his thermometer said -3, but I think it was getting some heat from the yurt....

So off we went wearing puff coats through the woods...when we dropped from the bench to Gravel creek I could feel almost a line where it got even colder. My thermometer only goes to -20, but I think it was a little colder...When I can ski with 2 pairs of long underwear, shchoeller pants, and my puff pants, super puff coat and five top layers and not over heat, its reached stupid cold conditions. But at that point we were only 1/2 hour from the how could we not continue?

So Cold!




The thermometer said it was only -5 at the base of the had warmed up 15 degrees, the ice was actually soft looking with some running was looking pretty good. But I knew it was cold, and I had done this climb before so I knew that it was harder, longer and steeper than it looked, I knew it would be difficult. I have this guilt though, I know I could lead it, so I left it up to fate to decide, and fate wants me toughen up a little off I went.

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I really want to get in shape. I feel like I should be climbing harder and stronger than I am. I made it up and I didn't flail, take, or fall, but I felt like I could have climbed it better. I want steep ice to feel easier than it does...but that's what keeps it challenging I guess...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year: Skiing King Mountain!

I felt a little lame for going to sleep at 9pm on New Years eve, but it still didn't stop me, I was more excited to go skiing the next day than stay up late. The thermometer at Hokanson's cabin was steady at zero, but I didn't believe felt way colder. The sky was perfectly clear, and the moon was bright enough to cast shadows.

We began our trip up King Mountain with the obligatory 1000+ foot alder scwhack feet didn't touch the ground in multiple places, and I was using my whippet to hook and pull on...I would give it an adventure class rating.

Ryan and the Alders


There wasn't a temperature inversion, and so it just got colder and windier as we got higher up the mountain. I was hiking in my puff coat up hill and I wasn't hot, my thermometer was reading -10 without wind was freezing out.

The Ryan's Hiking Up the Couloir


I want to say Ryans altimeter put us at over 5,000 feet up this was freaking long!

High Spot Group Shot


Although I call myself a fair weather skier, this was definitely not my usual style. I have fat, soft powder skis, because that's what I want to ski...the couloir was mostly wind scoured, sustrugi textured, hard pan....if I wasn't in such a beautiful place, I would not have been psyched on the skiing itself....however, even skiing shitty snow beats walking down a peak any day.

Ryan Skiing Down

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More pics...