Thursday, April 24, 2014

6 Inches - Hatcher Pass, April 2014

6 inches, maybe 8 - that's how much it has snowed at Hatcher Pass in the last month. I think that the last significant storm was the incredible dump in early March. With great conditions throughout the Chugach and the Kenai we haven't been to the Talkeetnas much lately.

But, its been getting warm, so we did a quick after-work investigation last week. Nicole, engineer by day, snowpack investigator by night:


Who could resist that? Saturday we headed towards the spines, flutes, and cliffs of Government Peak. The (shirtless) boys bronzing on the approach:


1.2 meters. The total snow depth at 4,000 feet on a due north aspect. 1.2 meters never skied so well.



Given some uncertainty with recent wind loading we started with a ramp lower on the ridge. Alex:


Lower down:


Rachel:


Too good to not go back up for another lap.


Alex dropping into our second line:


Rachel shooting out of the shade:


Powder 8s to power tuck. Watch out Warren Miller, here comes Robert!


Grrrrr!!!!


After two runs in the shade the boys were ready to get back to sunbathing and headed up for a corn lap. The high Chugach and Knik Valley visible in the distance:


So much terrain.


Alex hard at work harvesting the corn:


The team scopes the east shoulder of Government Peak. Put that on the to do list, some delicious lines in there!


Sunday we went looking for more protected north facing terrain. Like all good days, the day started with a rather repetitive encounter with an inquisitive euro sporting a gorgeous pair of purple gaitors. I have no idea what dance floor he stole those gaitors from, but I sure want to find it!


"Have you skied ziiiis before today?"
"This is our first run today, but we have skied it previously."
"But, have you skied ziiiis before today?
Rewind, repeat three times.

This particular chute will from now on be known as "Euro Chute".


And despite his dire warnings, it skied quite well:


From there we headed north into Archangel.


Alex dropping in:


Rachel in the apron.


The snow in our first run into the basin was incredible, so we headed back up for more. To paraphrase Alex: "there's something very satisfying about bootpacking." Shortly thereafter he rescinded this comment.


The couloir stopped on a small floating loft below the ridgeline.


With a great view into the line; Alex:


Inspecting our "satisfying" bootpack:


With the shadows getting longer we headed back up for one last lap back towards the car.


Almost there!


Where we found only our own tracks.


Sure glad we did that one last skin.


After a recovery day, otherwise known as work, we headed back up Tuesday night.


The dry spell is starting to show.


Alex, 8:30 PM, mid faceshot:


Another zone to add to the bucket list:


Certainly seemed like more than 6 inches, maybe I'm missing something...