Saturday, May 4, 2013

Scott Glacier Tour - 4.25.2013

With rain up to 1,500 meters in the days leading up to the 25th, skiing near town was getting a bit rough. Knowing that we would likely find equally bad conditions, but far more memorable adventures higher up and farther out, Ben and I headed towards the Scott Glacier last Saturday.

We spent the first two hours of the day trying to find our way through the maze that is the Copper River Delta. "I'll need to get up some speed for these alders":


After 2 hours of alder-whacking we gave up and tried out the Scott River. Which already had a fair amount of open water:


An hour and a half of river crossings and overheatings later, we were at the top of Scott, looking down on the Million Dollar Bridge, 80 kilometers from Cordova:


Looking west at the headwaters of the Child's Glacier, which flows east to the Million Dollar Bridge:


Ben scoping lines for next year:


With a light rain crust at the top of the glacier, we headed northwest towards the north arm of the Scott. Looking back at our tracks over the pass into the north arm:


High in the accumulation zone on the Scott, up here the glacier surface is nearly flat - glacier flow is driven more by the huge depth of the ice than by the surface slope.


Ben's family has been rocking this sled since his old brother was born, and its still going strong!


At 1,500 meters its amazing how different the snowpack is than in Cordova or even where we skied recently on the Scott. The mountains looks more like Colorado with the salt and pepper rocks that tell of high winds and a shallower snowpack:


From the pass we turned southwest, gradually heading back towards the Copper River Delta.


I'd never been in the north fork before, and Ben has only been there by helicopter, so we took our time to check out the breathtaking views on the way down.


Now that looks rad!


Hanging blue seracs pour off the edge of an awesome valley glacier into the Scott; very neat to see a land based glacier that is limited in extent by terminal calving:


Eventually we rejoined the south fork of the Scott, and stopped to look back up the north fork; there is some serious alpine terrain up there!


Soon we were past the terminus of the glacier and working our way back down the river. Breakup was in full effect, with the ice frequently failing underneath us as we fled.


Over or under the road???


Spring in AK:


Ben rallying his sled back into the truck, no need to worry about the back window when its already been shattered!


Quite the day, Ben skied one short lap and I didn't ski at all. I feel really anxious about skiing on days like this - with just two of us and so far from help, I was really worried knowing that if we had an accident skiing we still had 30 kilometers of sketchy sledding ahead of us . Maybe its because of seen so many injuries over the years, or maybe I'm just getting old. Haha, never!