Rock Skiing the Chugach

1 11 2012

With no new snow and seriously early skiing conditions I’m not sure why we skied anywhere but on a glacier. But the temptation of skiing a new area, not easily accessed later in the winter got my attention. We headed to Hope last Saturday to ski a couloir some friends in the group had skied after the first decent dump of snow, it also had a base from snow that never melted from the previous winter. We skinned/hiked/booted 3-4 miles in and up to 4500 ft. to access the run.

Mave topping out a steep section.

Mike, Michelle, and Mave booting up to the couloir we were skiing.

Michelle dropping in. The top of the couloir had 3-4 inches on top of wind hammered, hard-as-a-rock snow as a base. Midway down it just had the rock hard snow littered with chocolate chips/rocks. By the time I skied (4) there was very little loose snow. It was survival skiing at it’s best 🙂 Something I really wasn’t geared up for this early in the season….

When we dropped into the bowl there was decent powder, but that was short lived, moving onto barely covered tundra and rocks. My legs were jelly from survival skiing the couloir.

The gorgeous hike out past kettle lakes and a waterfall. We actually skied some of this, hence the rock skis. After I took a pretty good fall (a rock stopped me in my tracks) I decided to hike the rest of the way. Don’t need any end of season injuries before it even starts!

My new rock skis 😦 Gouged tip to tail. Nothing a little p-tex can’t fix!

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