Friday, August 28, 2015

Kanuti Picture Project

Updated 8.28.2015 - At 1.64 million acres Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge is about the size of Delaware; it provides crucial habitat for bird, mammal, and fish species. Kanuti has no designated trails, campsites, or public use cabins within its boundaries. Its huge and untouched; places like this are why we live here.

If there is enough light to work and enough water to measure, we work in Kanuti nearly every month. Like the Prince William Sound Picture Project, this post is made up of unique and memorable moments that stand out.

I lost my camera last September in Kanuti, this is one of the last pictures I took with it. In July my coworker Jasper found it. I'm looking forward to taking it back up there next month.

The Jack White Range is a subrange of the Brooks Range. That's just about all I could find about these mountains. This sort of unknown makes Alaska special.

Floatplanes bound for Bettles used to land on a straightaway of the Koyukuk River. But then, as they tend to do, the river meandered. A floatplane lake was constructed to replace the lost "airport".

Thursday, July 16, 2015

5, 4, 3, 1 - 5.2.2015

By early May the already shallow low-elevation snowpack was melting out. Higher, there was still snow, but getting there was a challenge. The other issue was the convective showers that had been passing through each afternoon. Had the precip fallen as snow or rain?

We decided to try the Front Range, planning to test snow conditions in the S Coulior before heading for bigger sheltered north facing lines. As we started to climb the S Couloir, snow conditions were not ideal: a thin rain crust underlain by as much as 9 inches of graupel. Maybe it would be better higher? Nope.

Reaching an spatially variable windslab high in the couloir, we called it, skied down, and reassessed.

A corn tour was settled on. So, we headed for Ptarmigan Pass and the southern gulleys of Peak 4. We walked...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sheep Creek Packraft - 6.7.2015

I've wanted to do the Sheep Creek fly-in trip for a while now. But, making it happen has been a challenge. We had planned on doing it the previous weekend, but at the 3 PM the day before the pilot discovered that Crossover Lake was still frozen.

Peering into the Kashwhitna River headwaters.

We spent the rest of the day hemming and hawing between options, eventually deciding on to float from Curry Whistlestop followed by the Redgate section on Willow Creek.

Yay, not frozen!

The next week brought cool temperatures and rain to Southcentral. When Cody landed on Crossover Lake on Friday it was 34 degrees and raining. 
Are we going to fit on that little lake?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Coffee Tapas Wine Packraft

Most people know of this adventure as the "Coffee Pizza Beer Packraft". Aptly named because the loop up Carlo Creek and back down the Nenana starts and ends with at a restaurant that offers just that. However, some of us are lactose intolerant, and wine is healthier anyways.

After a memorable search for our friend Allie's cabin and a leisurely coffee at the Cafe, we were on our way.

For better or for worse, an ATV trail allowed us to skip the joys of bushwhacking and we were soon climbing higher and higher through the tundra of Carlo Creek drainage.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Girls Mountain - Feb 2015

Valdez is always a memorable experience. It was my first Alaska ski experience: RVs, avalanches, and flaming snowmobiles. This trip was equally exciting. It started with a Wednesday moonlight run along the Turnagain Arm trail. There were supposed to be headlamps, but one was left on Kilimanjaro and another was dead, which slowed the arrival at the Brown Bear.

 By 4:30 the next morning I was up, then Max and I drove north to meet Josh in Eagle River.

What are we forgetting?

I'm sure his neighbors loved waking to the sounds of 2 stroke engines and his baying hound. Along the way, both of our sleds came very close to falling off the trailer. In fact, mine did come part way off. Somehow we made it to Thompson Pass.

At the pass we found an alarming raincrust that came very close to destroying our sleds.