Wednesday, May 8, 2019

West Twin - 4.26.2019

Tuesday's powdery adventure on the Ramp had left us hungry to get out for more. But, strong winds and multiple avalanche reports left everyone jumpy about getting into big, exposed terrain. At work on Friday morning we called an audible and headed for the Eklutna Road.

By 2 PM we were out of our work clothes, parked at the likely access point, and wading into the thickets. The bushwhack wasn't bad and within an hour and half we were at the saddle. The Mat Valley spread out below us:


To the south were oh so many past memories and future dreams. East Killiak (which we skied last month), West Killiak, and Yukla. Hopefully we'll get those soon.

Eagle Peak and its hanging snowfield to mondo couloir:

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

O'Malley - 5.6.2019

On the way home home from the Ramp the other day, we skinned under the impossibly steep north face of O'Malley. Craning our necks back we looked up at the lines snaking thru the face. Exposed and skinny, I made a pact with myself not to touch them. Within a week, I was dreaming about the Lightning Bolt couloir:


I snuck out of work at 4:00 and 30 minutes later was running down the Powerline Pass trail in my ski boots. Although it continues to dump up high, the snow is quickly disappearing on the approaches.


Within an hour and a half the approach across the Ballfield and down the obnoxious scree to Black Lake was done with. Looking up, it was hard to imagine that a continuous line was there.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Ramp - 4.23.2019

Last Monday, cold air blowing from western Alaska converged with moist air over the Chugach Mountains. Unaffected by wind, the storm left the Anchorage Front Range caked in blower snow. On Tuesday afternoon, with the storm beginning to clear, we headed towards Ship Lake Pass.


We were briefly distracted by ptarmigan herding lesson courtesy of Andrew. He's getting pretty proficient at it, after watching him touch one in Ram Valley a few weeks ago, next time I'm expecting it to waddle into his backpack.


Each break in the clouds brought immediate warming from the spring sun and associated glopping of our skins. I tried not to have a meltdown as I carried an extra 10 pounds of snow on each foot, then snapped my pole while trying to clean them off. Nice to not have real problems.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Anchorage Weather Outlook

Ski weather outlooks will resume in November, 2019. Have a great summer!

Thurs – Fri: cloudy to clearing, cool, wind in favored terrain (high confidence).
Clouds tomorrow, especially near the Prince William Sound, where snow will also fall. Expect warming and clearing into Friday with cold nights. There will be some wind tonight/tomorrow along the Anchorage Front Range, Turnagain Arm, Whittier, and Seward.

Weekend: sunny, warm days, cool nights, calm (high confidence).
Dry weather will be well established over our region. With strong spring sun and clear nights, afternoons will be warm and mornings will be cold. The sun will have a strong impact on solar aspects, while high north aspects will harbor cold snow.

Early Next Week: cloudy to clearing, snow showers possible, warm (moderate confidence).
Southcentral will be on the edge of a storm in western Alaska on Monday. As such, clouds to light snow are possible. When the sun comes out expect immediate warming and solar impact to snow.


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Monday, April 22, 2019

Boisterous - 3.30.2019

The idea for Boisterous came on a cold ride to the Knik Glacier with Jessy and Khalial. Looking south thru wisps of woodstove smoke, we could see the fuzzy outline of a king line at the back of Hunter Creek. Since then, its been a weather and stability waiting game; finally everything lined up in late March.

The day started with five miles of fatbike-skijoring across Eklutla Lake.


Then came crawling under, climbing over, and walking up the Bold Valley trail. Tony had seen brown bear tracks on the trail the week before, I think he was trying to blend in:


Under the huge north face of Bold, we followed wolverine tracks towards Hunter Pass. On its endless search for food, the roving phantom had stopped to look under every rock.