Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skiing in the Sun at Hatcher Pass

A blue bird day in Hatcher pass with light, fresh, fluffy, sparkling powder, I don't think I could have smiled any wider.

Ryan and I skied a line down the Sunny side of Micro Dot, then went around back for a North facing run.

Our tracks coming out from skiing the back side, gold Cord lake is in the bowl above our tracks.

Skiing back to the car, phenomenal day out in the sun!
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Lots of Snow in Eagle River Valley

I was expecting a lot of snow out in Eagle River, but I was still surprised by its depth. The ski in was awesome, all the underbrush around the climbs is buried deep. Three Ring circus looked more like a ski run than an ice climb. There wasn't a whole lot sticking out around Hollow Icicle either, so we bee lined to the blue ice on Spruce Pitch.

A Buried Three Ring Circus

The Route Next to Spruce Pitch

Usually the route next to Spruce Pitch is super steep and fun, but it formed up a little different this year, and there were funky bulges on top of the detached hanging pillars...We debated the top-rope but in the end just ran laps on Spruce Pitch.

Ryan Leading Spruce Pitch

Ryan and I Leaving
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A nice day out in a pretty area....probably won't be back till next year!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Christmas Amphitheater

Jon Cobb and I skied then hiked on a bomber trail to the Hunter creek Christmas amphitheater. The river crossing at the fork looks worse than it was....my feet didn't even get wet!

There was a ton of snow in the amphitheater and neither Jon or I could stomach the thought of shoveling ourselves up the more moderate line...so we decided to take a closer look at the more adventurous routes.

We had the longest ro-sham-bo game I've ever had, I don't think either of us was trying to win, I know I wasn't. But armed with a ton of screws and a new attitude to take it one screw at a time, I started up.

The Reach Around

The route looked harder than it was, not that I flew up it with ease, instead I very slowly scratched my way through some interesting, steep ice, a very satisfying and aesthetic line.

The Amphitheater

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A great day out filled with low expectations that were merrily exceeded.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Winter Snowbird

With a week off I wanted to leave town for a few days and it has been months since I have been up to the Snowbird hut. GeorgeAnne had the time free and her s/o Andrew did too, and Ry also has an abundance of time these days so we decided to spend a couple nights up there mid week.

It was a bit of a slog down the road and we had just passed the angry resident moose and pulled off to take a break at the Reed Lakes trailhead when my good friend Rapheal pulled up on his snowmachine. We got a little help to the bottom of the first big hill.

All of us plus Rapheal

The conditions touring up to the hut were pretty ideal...but it still is a bit of a journey and we didn't end up pulling into the hut until after dark...having a GPS with maps on it is pretty amazing in the dark. It also helped that the hut was illuminated by its occupants Leo and Kevin.

Skinning up to the first big hill...

When we got up the next morning it took a couple cups of coffee to get going... George Anne and Andrew both had gotten some nasty looking blisters and weren't really feeling it...Kevin was also moving slow. So Leo, Ryan and I headed out the door into the milk together.
Ryan at the top...

For a short, old guy, Leo kicked our asses...he broke trail through the 4-6 inches faster than I could follow without being out of breath. It was pretty awesome really.

It was overcast and the light was by no means great but the views were still pretty and the run had some variable snow in the middle but the last stretch was butter cream powder.

The snow was definitely worthy to have another go on the other obvious couloir full of pretty snow..

Ryan Skiing the second line..

A look up at our lines with amazing visibility at sunrise ... We skied the obvious far left and far right line...

Hut camping is the way to go. The snowbird hut is amazing, I could easily kill a day doing nothing but looking out the windows.

We woke up to a beautiful blue bird day, it was so unexpected and lovely. We packed up and headed back up and over the pass toward town.

Ry heading up the Snowbird glacier....

The Pass

The sun and snow on the other side was dreamy. It truly could not have been any better. I've hiked down this trail many times, but skiing is the best way to go.

Heading down...

Sun, Snow, Friends....

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A great trip, one I look forward to doing again...its amazing what looks skiable when all the boulder fields are filled in with snow...Hatcher pass has more snow this winter than its had in years...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Caribou Creek

Its a good thing that I have short term memory problems, otherwise I probably would never go climb at Caribou creek. Everything about a day out there is long:  the 2 hr drive, the 2hr approach, and the routes. Not many people had been back there recently, and the other tracks we saw turned around just past Kids Corner. It was a bit of a slog through the snow to get to the end.

Ryan with Redemption in the Background


Rhythm and Blues Looking Fat


Ryan won the rosh for the first pitch, it didn't look that bad, but it felt unrelentingly steep. By the time I reached the top of the first pitch, my right crampon was severely compromised. I somehow sheared the bolt that was holding the front points of my crampons on, eliminating the possibility of further progression.

 Ryan Leading the First Pitch of Cantellya


Ryan and I saw three foxes on the way in, and four moose. I felt bad we scared them into post-holing to the end of the valley. They were really wallowing through the deep snow.

Three Scared Moose

Robo Pick was super thin,and the other route past Robo Pick wasn't in at all. I really need to get a snow machine.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Eklutna Canyon

Usually I've been to Eklutna Canyon at least 10 times by this point in the ice season, but this year has been different, and this was my first time back. I won the rosh for Ripple, but forgot my crampons, so lost it in the end. It's so annoying to forget key pieces of gear.

Ripple on a Diet


Ryan and the Dam

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Mad Dog was in its usual anemic state, TJ Swann had a little curtain, but no pillar, Boonesfarm was huge, Annie Greensprings was thin at the bottom and fat up top, and the Dam was in with a huge pool of water below the ice. I need to remember that going climbing is only partly about the climb, but also about the nice walks through beautiful canyons, and I definitely need the exercise!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hunter Creek

I have never seen so much snow in Hunter Creek before, it was coating the walls and piled high on the river. The approach was as straight forward as I have ever seen it. It was a winter wonder land.

Caitlin and I skied back, but the trail was packed and easily walkable. I pretty much sucked at taking pictures this day. I didn't get one picture of the route we climbed, Lost Chord.


Conditions were spring like, soft and warm, a very pleasant afternoon.


We skied back to the fork but there was no way across without getting our feet wet....so we stopped.

The Bridge Across Hunter Creek

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