Monday, April 22, 2019

Boisterous - 3.30.2019

The idea for Boisterous came on a cold ride to the Knik Glacier with Jessy and Khalial. Looking south thru wisps of woodstove smoke, we could see the fuzzy outline of a king line at the back of Hunter Creek. Since then, its been a weather and stability waiting game; finally everything lined up in late March.

The day started with five miles of fatbike-skijoring across Eklutla Lake.


Then came crawling under, climbing over, and walking up the Bold Valley trail. Tony had seen brown bear tracks on the trail the week before, I think he was trying to blend in:


Under the huge north face of Bold, we followed wolverine tracks towards Hunter Pass. On its endless search for food, the roving phantom had stopped to look under every rock.


At Hunter Pass we looked south at fond memories of dark and cold bushwhacking down Thunderbird Ridge. Totally worth it.


We ate lunch in the sun while Dave cranked out bonus corn turns and dodged rockfall, then it was time to drop into the west fork of Hunter Creek.


The valley floor had a perfect crust, so we skated up-valley for awhile before transitioning to skins. The wolverine seemed to be headed in the same direction, and we followed its tracks again as we approached the massif.


Curving around the giant buttress, the north couloir came into view. Looking up, we were stoked to see a way to snake around the ice - that had been the major uncertainty, and we didn't have a rope.


After 500 hundred feet of zig-zagging up the skin track, the pitch ramped up and we switched to booting, heading for the snowy sneak through walls of ice and rock.


Once past the ice bulge Dave took over breaking trail and was quickly leaving us in the dust.


We made good time thru the settled alpine pow and were soon arguing about which microchute would deposit us near the summit.


A high step, a lunge, and V3 stem lifted us over the vertical snow and onto the summit ridge. We left our skis and jogged the 100 vertical feet to the summit. Dave modeling proper alpine form; if only he'd had his down skirt on this could be a Montbell advertisement. Next time.


The summit register was pretty cool, with only a handful of entries over the last 28 years. No recorded winter summits either.


The warm sun and 360 degree summit views were incredible; we sat there eating Oreos, reminiscing about past adventures, plotting new ones, and postulating about peak names. Marcus Baker:


East Fork Hunter Creek:


More East Fork Hunter Creek plus high Chugach giants.


Hmmm, yes, those are gigantic.


Bashful:


And, behind Bashful, the Eklutna Glacier and the headwaters of Peters Creek.


Bellicose, the Killiaks, Rumble, and Benign. Much unfinished business here.


Rotating further, PekingRaina, and so many fond memories.


And to the west, Pioneer Peak; I'd happily ski that one every single day.


Eventually we dragged ourselves from our sunny little beach in the sky and back to the powder skiing. From the ridge we dropped into a tight, steep, and fun chute.


Which dumped into hero turns on the glacier.


The glacier tipped as we rolled over the bowling ball towards the ice bulge.


We tucked out of the way as Tony ripped thru the choke.


Dave followed suit.


Past the ice bulge it was back to ripping pow down the open face.


At the bottom of the face there were negotiations to ski another lap, but as still 14 miles from the car, reason eventually prevailed.


There was more powder as a consolation for skipping that second lap.


Yummy.


Back at the creek we refilled our water bottles and drooled over the summit turns from 30 minutes before.


Then it was time to crank out the last climb out to Hunter Pass. At the pass, Bold's north face was just starting to get evening light:


The headwall into Bold Valley was delicious corn.


Skiing down the valley was an efficient blend of low angle hippy pow and bonus exercise.


Still no bear sightings. Phew.


One last aid-station refuel and we were back at the lake.


Then, the day ended much as it started - beautiful golden light,


And bikejoring across Eklutna Lake.

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