Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Anchorage Shred Outlook - 1.13.2021

Thurs – Fri: Snow for Turny/Gird, dry inland, warm (high confidence).
Moderate snowfall favoring mountains closer to the western PWS (Turnagain, Girdwood, Whittier, Seward) with rain line near sea level on Thurs. Friday is the in-between day with temps rising before the next storm. Colder, clearer, and dry inland.

Weekend: stormy, warm, windy (high confidence).
Heavy snowfall favoring mountains closer to the western PWS. Rain line rising above Turnagain road level. Storm tapering down Sunday. Colder, clearer, and dry inland

Early Next Week: stormy/warm/windy then drying (moderate confidence).
Heavy snowfall favoring mountains closer to the western PWS with rain line rising to Turnagain road level for Monday, followed by drying and cooling Tue/Wed. Colder, clearer, and dry inland likely thou snowfall for Anchorage/Palmer/Hatcher is possible.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Granddaddy Tour - 12.6.2015

Note: Updated to include another great Granddaddy tour.

After a perfect Saturday, the secret was out, and we'd need to go deeper to avoid the crowds. With virtually no solar radiation, sunny south faces seemed appropriate. We decided on a tour around Pastoral Peak.

Climbing above the inversion with lovely purple tones to the west.

First light kissing Kickstep from Taylor Pass; many fun memories in this picture:

Photo: Brady Deal

Two hours after leaving the car our first line was in view. Carpathian looking nice too.

Photo: Brady Deal

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Goldpan - 12.13.2018

Note: Updated to include another great day at Goldpan Mountain Resort.

Alaska is the land of feast or famine. November brought days of rain, rain, rain to the Kenai Mountains. Fortunately, days of rain at the road mean feet of snow in the alpine, and in early December we finally got the weather window we'd been waiting for.

It was dark and cold as we broke trail out of the Sunburst lot, along Taylor Creek, and up Basketball. Climbing higher, we watched the sun kiss Turnagain's crown jewel:

Not entirely sure about stability and snow, we started with a long, protected spine towards Bertha Creek. Jono offered to go first; we could barely see him through the trail of cold smoke he left behind. It was going to be a good day.

Playing leapfrog down the long spine, I looked up to see a partially submerged Bucky. He'd later say this was the deepest day he's ever skied in the alpine.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Japanese Trees - 12.26.2020

There is nothing sweeter in the outdoors than exploring somewhere new. Or at least that was our excuse as we drove to, past, and beyond the new snow and deep base of Turnagain for the thinner and worse snowpack of Summit. 

True to our mission, none of us had skied the Japanese Trees before and had for location information a sentence from an avalanche observation. But, as we pulled into the parking lot next to Summit Lake and peered into the bushes we could see skintrack disappearing across the road. Sweet success! Knowing Summit's track record as the place to have your car broken into, we side-eyed the unassuming yuppies in the parking lot then played Frogger across the icy road.

Tom wondering how many laps of stinging horizontal snow are tolerable.

Climbing thru the open glades did indeed feel a bit like the birch forests of Japan. Like those past trips to the Land of The Rising Sun, the new zone closer to home still brought the same enhanced sensation only new experiences can bring - a sharpening of the senses like a microscope coming into focus.

After a few laps the snow tapered off and a hint of sun appeared to the south.

We used the first laps to optimize our ascents and winding descents from alder glades through the birch trees to the road. As the clouds retreated north the snow was painted with a subtle peach glaze - nothing our consumer cameras could capture, but focused in our eyes by the experience of the new.
Photo Nyssa Landres

Monday, December 28, 2020

Tin Can - 2.8.2014

Note: Updated on 12.28.2020 to include another great day at Tincan Mountain Resort.

The last month here has not been winter as we know it. The forecast has been filled with terms like "atmospheric river", "tropical infusion", and "veritable firehose". Unfortunately this cascade of precipitation fell largely as rain, not snow. Then it got warm. There's been a lot more basketball, running, skating, and hiking than my winter dreams normally consist of.

This weekend we thought we'd go up to the Snowbird Hut for a little adventure, but then Friday the forecast started to look promising for the Kenai. Saturday morning brought 40 cm of snow to Turnagain, calm, and bluebird. How could we resist?

Pulling into the usually swamped parking lot at Tin Can, there appeared to be only a hand full of groups that were not part of the usual avy classes. Awesome. Anchorage had forgotten that it's winter.

Approaching treeline:

At treeline we watched several slides release from remote triggers several hundred meters away.

More signs of instability: