Monday, April 8, 2013

October Bowl Ski - 4.3.2013

After getting shut down in Whittier the previous day by this bank of clouds, Matt, Nick and I headed out last Tuesday to check out Hatcher Pass. 

Based on a reconnaissance mission from a few weeks ago, we headed west on the sled to a steep and featured bowl above Summit Lake. Nick scouts the zone from below; Alaska necessities: radios and binoculars.

Photo: Matt Cameron

Nick enjoying the beautiful skin from the bottom of the zone:

Photo: Matt Cameron

With a Talkeetna backdrop, Matt looks towards the Chugach:

Another glory shot from the top of the zone, looking southwest at the endless lines of Hatcher Pass:

Photo: Matt Cameron

After taking in a lifetime of lines in every direction, we headed over to do a cornice cut stability test. The boys watch the results of our handiwork bouncing down the slope:

Observing only surface sloughing from our cornice fall and the plethora of highmarks in the area, we were amped to drop into the stacked zone of cliffs, chutes and flutes below. Matt was gracious enough to drop first:

After a great first run we had to wonder: could we sled lap this? And once we do, can we just sled back down the face? Nick confirms our suspicions:

With a warm up in the books, we headed for more technical terrain. Nick floats off a flute:

Photo: Matt Cameron

Skiing complex terrain that you've only seen from the bottom is a lesson in route finding; Nick drops into a steep ramp over big exposure:

Matt enjoying the creamy apron:

With a dinner date at 7:30, we had time for one last run. Matt charges a sporty bootpack towards his line:

hmmm, so many options...

how about this nice sunlit face?

With our three tracks from the first run visible above, Nick gets ready to drop into a fast line - is my GoPro on?

Nick charging through some sharks as I watch from above. What a zone!

Photo: Matt Cameron

I dropped last, and couldn't help but follow Matt off a fun kicker cliff at the top of the zone:

Lower down; yep, that was a bit flat.

With a beautiful day in a new zone wrapped up, we headed back towards Anchorage; but not before stopping to enjoy the incredible views of Pioneer Mountain from Palmer:

I have such a skewed idea of Alaska - bluebird 4 °C days spent skinning in a t-shirt. Pretty hard to beat, hoping it stays this way!

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