Thursday, October 27, 2011

Attempt on Strelshla Peak

I love staying up at Betsy and Bill's yurt, and watching the whole family cross the river in the morning reminded me of being in Thailand where the whole family rides a moped together, super cute and highly entertaining.

Our plan was to try and hike up Strelshla peak, we parked down Victory Bible camp road and headed up a large drainage.

We got out of tree line fairly easily, and once we were in the gut it was my favorite combination of 2-4 inches of snow over scree, lots and lots of scree. There were patches of thin wind slab which were nicer, but overall highly unpleasant uphill travel. Luckily the views only got better.

A rare phenomenon

It was another good recon mission in the sense that next time we will probably bring a rope and light rack for the snowy rock section at the top we didn't climb. We enjoyed the views on the saddle while sitting in the sun, good compensation for the uphill scree battle. Fantastic views of the big peaks on the other side of the Matanuska valley, lots of possibilities out there.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Walking the Climbing Pack

I went North to visit Bill and have a look at conditions up at the Puritan Creek pillar. It was a pleasant 2 hour approach starting on four wheeler tracks, then a plethora of game trails through the brush.


It looked huge and fat from far away, upon closer inspection it was more thin and detached.


We decided to let it grow instead of knocking it down on top rope, leading it was a no go. When it comes in it will be a sweet, wicked steep pillar.


We drove down to Caribou Creek afterward and hiked up the trail to Kids was a no go too, lots of water streaming down, and very little ice around it.
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Palmer Creek

We didn't have to hike very far till we hit the snow line. It wasn't deep but the word of the day to describe it was, "supportable".


It was cool to ski somewhere I had never gone before. The mountains back there were pretty sweet. The road closes sometime in early winter, but with a snow machine the access could stay good all season long.

Ryan at the top of the Ridge, unknown peak we skied for lap 2 in the background.


Super fun to get out and do some skiing with Raina and Dan


The last run of the day was truly amazing. A sucker hole opened up and bathed our run in golden alpenglow. The snow was smooth and creamy, the angle perfect. Such a reward for the long skin up.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Early Season Ski at the Snowbird

I never thought the Archangel valley gate would still be open, but it was, and Doug and I had big grins driving through the snow to the Reed Lakes Parking lot. We put our skis on at the car and although there was probably only about 5 inches, it was enough to avoid walking!


The fog rolled in from the valley, it was awesome to climb above it back into the blue bird day. I tried to stick to the summer trail and managed to avoid most of the large boulders, pretty pleasant tour overall.


We stashed our overnight stuff in the moraine and headed up left of the nunatak to get a run in before dark. There was probably 8-12 inches of snow and it was surprisingly creepy with loud whumphing on the low angle glacier. I guess it was delusional to think it would get better higher up.

I know I've said this before, but I love the Snowbird Hut, with its oil heater, stainless steel counters, and beautiful windows...Ahh so much better than camping!

Early Morning View from the Hut


Conditions weren't much better the next morning with the same whumping on the low angle glacier. It didn't seem like it could slide so we watched our angle and toured above the nuntak, stopping a few hundred feet shy from the top where it got steeper.


The powder was unbelievable light and fluffy, such a beautiful feeling, and unbelievably tempting to keep doing. Doug and I had a good conversation about the snowpack, the 'red light' factors and were both able to live with our decision to ski conservatively.


It was amazing early season powder without all the rocks.

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Amazing skiing for October!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First Day of the Ski Season!

I never would have believed that I would be skiing beautiful powder 4 hours after we parked on dry pavement at Sunburst Parking lot. The snow line was 1200 feet above the car. But I suspended disbelief and walked up the tundra in my ski boots.


We skinned below Sunburst and went up Taylor Pass at the end of the ridge. The snow just got better the farther up we went.


Pastoral peak was beautiful, plenty of snow up top.


The best snow of the day started about 500 feet below the summit and continued to be creamy smooth all the way back to Taylor pass. Our tracks are in the sun behind Ryan, and Pastoral Peak is directly behind him.

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This was probably the best day of early season skiing I have ever had, despite the initial approach. Skiing powder under blue skies is unbelievably fun.