Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Anchorage Weather Outlook - 12.4.2019

Thurs – Fri: rising temps, skies becoming cloudy (high confidence).
Temperatures will rise as the wind direction shifts from the north. With this shift expect cloud cover to increase and snow showers by the end of the work week.  Areas closest to the Prince William Sound (PWS) will be impacted the most.

Weekend: stormy, warm, windy (moderate confidence).
Precipitation will begin in earnest on Saturday night favoring areas closest to the PWS with the interior in the shadow. Rain lines will rise to the alpine for Turnagain/Girdwood/Seward. All areas will be windy.

Early Next Week: stormy, warm, windy (moderate confidence).
The stormy pattern favoring areas closest to the PWS will continue. Rain lines will be high. All areas will be windy.

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Dalton to Anaktuvuk - June 2019

Flying home from Dutch Harbor in June, I looked down at the Neacola Mountains still buried in snow. It was almost time for our Lake Clark trip, but a week of wading thru waste-deep soft serve didn't sound like vacation.

After frantic brainstorming, beta from Fairbanks Ken, and a chauffeur offer from Emily's mom, we were driving north. In the Subaru were three dogs, four people, and a week of Oreos. The plan was to get dropped off on the Haul Road, backpack to Anaktuvuk Pass, then take the mail plane back to Fairbanks where Mary would drop our car.

We pit-stopped for a cookie in Coldfoot before waving goodbye to Mary at 3 PM next to the Dietrich River. A true alpine start.

The banks of the river were covered in the tracks of wolves.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Delia Peak - 4.1.2018

2018 was a Hatcher year. It was stable, deep, and soft, and we had a great time exploring new zones, revisiting old ones, and linking up favorites. With a fat snowpack down low, the Mint Valley alder jungle was buried, and we focused on Arcose Ridge. After years of staring at Delia Peak from Rae Wallace, Sidney Creek, and, well, everywhere else it was time to check it off.

As we climbed out of the cold inversion of the valley bottom and into the sunshine of the basin Alex, Charlie, Josh, and Zack raced for the chance to break trail.

The peloton of skinny fast dudes quickly had us on top of Arcose Ridge from where we looked behind us into the heart of the Mint Valley. We'd ski Montana Peak a week later. I'm dreaming about another window to get more of those.

We followed the wide ridge east to the summit of Delia. At the high point we could look straight at the twin peaks of Souvenir and the west bowl they guard. I remembered lying on Souvenir's overhung summit, looking 500 feet straight down, and feeling the tickle in my grundel.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

East Killiak - 3.26.2019

After an extended period of stormy weather, we were looking for a "moderate" objective to get our noses into the snowpack. After some back and forth about what moderate means, we settled on East Killiak. Like so many other memories, the day started on Prudhoe Bay Road.

We hiked up the access trail, switched to skins, and were soon following the familiar route up the Ram Glacier. On the way, we passed under the sharkey north face of Cumulus and the stacked massif of Raina:

Under the huge amphitheater at the top of the glacier we curved left to Bombardment Pass. Hard to think of other lines that pair as nicely as Korohusk's dogleg and pinner.

The descent from Bombardment Pass is straightforward, but we managed a confused route down loose moraine covered in a dusting of snow and seeps of water ice. Tumbling down scree makes for stronger memories. Peters Peak:

Monday, September 2, 2019

South Fork Matanuska Packraft - August 2019

Connor and I had been dreaming about an August trip. We wanted the Talkeetna, but at 9,000 cfs it was above my packrafting pay grade. With the hot and dry weather, paddling options were limited - technical glacial rivers were pumping while everything else was bone dry. The South Fork provided a nice compromise of glacial volume without the packraft eating holes that a technical river would bring.

On Saturday morning we met Cam at the Lionshead shuttle, dropped a vehicle, then found Alex and Evan at Caribou Creek. The crisp morning air warned of the changing seasons as we pushed off for the short first float.

At the Caribou-South Fork Matanuska confluence we ferried across, rolled up our boats, and hiked up the drainage towards the Matanuska Glacier. About a mile of minor bushwhacking along game trails covered in moose poo and we were at the glacier.

Next to the glacier we cruised on old moraines and out-wash bars.