Saturday, February 22, 2014

Falls Creek Ski - 2.22.2014

The nice thing about Anchorage is that when it comes to skiing (or any kind of playing), you have options. We knew it would be cloudy at Turnagain, Hatcher has been variable, and Alyeska is rather skied out and thin.

We wanted somewhere that would be stable and would provide contrast against the gray light. This fall, my good friend Nick and I had a most excellent and dark bushwhacking adventure up Falls Creek. I remembered the awesome lines we'd seen up there before the sun set and the alders attacked us.

With that in mind, we headed for Falls Creek this morning. Starting at sea level meant starting the day with thin, and dare I say, technical skinning. But, the ascent through the peaceful forest was really wonderful and before long we were into more open country. Looking south towards Resurrection Pass, which Toni and I rode this fall:

The Falls Creek knob starting to come into view:

Skinning under the rock massif of the Falls Creek Knob brought a great sense of grandeur and scale, coming around the corner and looking up into the couloir was even more exciting. Once in the couloir, we threw our skis on our backs and started up the stairway to heaven.

Deep going up means deep going down!

Topping out:

The 270 degree views from the top gave us a chance to scout our next line. Indianhouse West Couloir, still a bit thin - we'll be back for it:

Indianhouse East Couloir

Don't know this one's name, but I know I want to ski it!

With no safe spots through the extent of the couloir, we elected to ski it top to bottom. I went first, pausing to let my slough pass me as I went. Max coming into view:

Rachel finding a deep spot:

Malcolm claims this was a "quad burner", sure doesn't look like he felt it:

After a great first run we couldn't wait to head around the corner to Indianhouse East.

Up, up, up!

Protected powder and rocks walls.

Almost there...

10 meters below the top, the snow suddenly changed drastically. The armoring raincrust under the new snow quickly deteriorated and the snow became pillowy and windloaded. It was time to call it and head down. Not a bad place to stop:

Good views too, the North Suicide:

More views - the backside of the Falls Creek Knob where we had been hours before. Plenty of fun looking lines there.

Malcolm dropped into the steep untouched powder first:

Looking so small down there:

Tara making it look easy:

From the bottom of the couloir, we worked our way through the upper basin before starting the harrowing descent through the trees and back to the water.

Its not every day you get to ski steep powder between huge rock walls, not to mention not see another soul. What a day, this is up there with some of my favorites!

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