Saturday, August 24, 2019

Bull River to Ohio Creek - June 2019

On June 8th and 9th 2019, Connor, Rey, Jordan and I returned to the Bull. The plan had been the East Fork of Chulitna, but word from Brad M. was too much snow. He recommended instead linking up the Bull with Ohio Creek.

At Pass Creek we left a shuttle before continuing to the usual trailhead at the Middle Fork Chulitna bridge. The ATV trail to the Bull was covered in prints from moose, momma bears, baby bears, and a pair of Salomon Speedcross running shoes. Sections were a bit swampy:

This May was a wet and cold one, green-up was just starting at Broad Pass.

Rey says that Broad Pass is the weekend packrafting Shangri-La: reasonable access from Anchorage, easy trails, lots of water, and killer views.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Bird Peak - 4.27.2019

We've been dreaming about Bird Peak ever since seeing its iconic west face while ripping pow on Penguin years ago. Since then we've been waiting for conditions, partners, and schedules to line up for that  face:

The west face hasn't lined up for us yet, but in late April of 2019 I was in the midst of a Western Chugach bender and suspected that Bird's north face was in, stable, and powdery. After a great Friday evening on the West Twin Pencil, we were hiking out of the California Creek parking lot by 8:00 the next morning. Within a few miles we hit continuous snow and along with it, continuous bear tracks.

Yogging along the alder tube of a trail on the firm morning snow was fast, and we continued until we found a suitable running-shoe rack.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Cumulus - 4.2.2019

This isn't really a story about skiing Cumulus, its about years of memories of exploring, laughs, and epics in Ram Valley, Falling Water, and Peter's Creek.

The day started with us hiking out of the parking lot in our running shoes. The warm March sun had melted most of the sun from the trail.

The dry trail reminded me of the first time we skied Korohusk five years ago. That day started by jackknifing Tarah's car while Jake and his pack of dogs barked at us from the driveway. Then we followed wolverine tracks up the Ram rock glacier until the dogleg coolie came into view - I couldn't believe it - here's a picture of Cody, Tarah and Max from that day:

Now back to the present - after passing above Cam's cabin we traded running shoes for skis and started skinning up the valley. We had a great day with Cam and company earlier this year linking up the dream line on Pleasant with the Y on Peking.

As soon as we started skinning we started running into the tracks of a momma bear,

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Calliope - 5.12.2019

Calliope is different than many ski mountaineering objectives of the western Chugach. Unlike the deeply incised couloirs that depend on flushing avalanches cycles for stability, its huge hanging face has nowhere to hide and the potential to harbor persistent weak layers. It requires near absolute confidence in stability. So, after a couple weeks of working into bigger terrain with good results it was time to give it a go.

The walk to the Eagle Lake took a bit over an hour and a half; there we turned right and followed the old medial moraine towards Symphony Lake.

Symphony welcomed us with isothermal snow drifts and beaver ponds. Another mile of wading through various forms of muck was plenty and we were both ready to switch to skinning.

I'd never been past Symphony Lake and loved imagining pesky goblins peering around the jumbled spires of the Cantata ridge and the ice bulges of Triangle.

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Wedge - 5.8.2019

Yogging out of the Glen Alps parking lot on Wednesday evening my pants seemed to be getting unreasonably wet. Then it started to smell like beer too. I stopped, dug the half spilled beer out of the bottom of my pack, drank it, and continued.

15 minutes later I ran into Maggie who was eating crackers and cheese and watching the ptarmigan/maybe on a Tinder date. The crackers and cheese went nicely with the beer, and after a short chat I was on my way again.

I waded through a few isothermal snowdrifts, found the melted out trail, and continued my yog towards Ship Lake Pass.