Elmo (and Andres) Ski Mount Rainier

3 06 2013

I finally made it to Seattle to ski with Andres! Somehow, I lucked out on the weather and missed a cloudy/rainy weekend in AK for a hot, sunny weekend in Washington!

mt rainier

The first day we decided to ski the Interglacier on Mt. Rainier. With approximately a 4700ish ft. elevation gain to 9000 ft. climbing it kicked my sea level butt. We started the hike in the forest, clouds obscuring the mountain tops. We strapped the skis on our backs for the first 3+ miles, until there was enough snow to skin to the 9000 ft. level where we skied down from.

forest

Once we popped out of the trees the clouds started to lift and we got our first glimpse of Mt. Rainier. As we continued up the glacier, the weather improved the entire way to blue skies, sunshine, and really, really warm temps. I got burnt to a crisp despite the loads of sunscreen I kept reapplying.

Fresh snow and lots of wet slides on the Interglacier.

Interglacier

Andres with Mt. Rainier.

Andres summit mt rainier

andres ski2

Beautiful views of the Cascades as far as the eye can see. andres interglacier

Sense of scale. Andres in the right corner headed down the glacier.sense of scale

The finest sunglasses that Safeway has to offer 🙂 Andres rocking the Hannah Montana sunglasses and me with Mt. Rainier behind us.

me & Andres

The next day we headed to the Camp Muir side of the mountain. Holy crowds of people!!! We brought Elmo with us to the circus 🙂

elmo skins

The weather started out great, but by the time we got up on the mountain to 8,000 ft. the clouds rolled in, making flat light and obscuring all detail on the mountain. Instead of skiing the chutes, I decided to take it easy and just ski the way we came up-I was nervous about re-injuring my ankle and didn’t want to be out for most of the summer.

Elmo skis!

elmo skis

I had a blast in Washington! It was awesome to spend time in the mountains again with Andres and hang out with Leanne in the city. I’m lucky to have such great friends~I’m looking forward to my next trip to Seattle!





Skiing Prince William Sound and the Paulson Bay Cabin

2 04 2013

We arrived in Whittier for our spring ski trip to find that Whittier had officially become a slurpee. From the streets to the water in the boat harbor, everything was slushy with a little bit of snow on top. Thank heaven for Extratuffs! We left later than we had hoped due to gale force winds and high seas (best to let that settle down a bit), but still made it out of Whittier by early afternoon.

Perfect snow for a snowball fight. Eva nailing Dan with a snowball.eva & dan in the harborHard to believe this is saltwater 🙂 It was much more like a margarita-just add tequila! The view right in front of the cabin.The Bay This is what we found upon landing on the beach…we had a little bit of work ahead of us before we could play. The cabin was snowed in on three sides, but luckily the front was an easy dig out. According to the log book, no one had been there all winter and we had a little bit of issues getting the propane stove working properly. Once we got it to fire up, it really cranked! We were super happy on this soggy trip for a good stove. Temps ranged 30-40F, with lots of rain (as should be expected in a rain forest), really wet snow, and one small window of sunshine!stairs

Dan clearing out the top of the stairs.Dan digging out stairs

What kind of backcountry ski trip would it be with out a keg or two of Alaska’s finest? Jon showing us the best way to carry a full keg, something he learned well on our last PWS ski trip.Jon Keg

Ryan skinning through the snowy forest.ryan skinningAfter a snowy night and rainy/foggy morning we were happy to see some high clouds & hints of blue sky.

The beach.the beach Part of a spine and skeleton that washed up during low tide.skeletonWe took advantage of the short window of no rain and the only spot of blue sky/no fog in the area and skinned up to get some skiing in. We found all the steep stuff had slid, and the few areas that hadn’t were pretty suspect. Mostly rolling hills surround the cabin, with any downhill skiing to be had quite a ways away. Great touring though-it’d be the perfect area for a metal edge xc backcountry ski.

We took a modest run (on the left shoulder). It was slow as hell with the super wet, dense snow. Ryan, on his snowboard, didn’t fare as well as the rest of us skiers 😦mountainJon, taking advantage of the warm, dry spell (about 40F). Behind him filled in with fog (earlier we had views of Cochrane Bay.) Soon, all the boys were topless. jon Ryan, Eva, and Dan breaking trail. Setting the skin track was a little bit of work in the super wet & dense snow.skinningJon & Parker with Cochrane Bay behind them.jon and parkerEva helping me grill up the chicken satay. To say the least, we ate pretty well on this trip. Bacon & sauerkraut stuffed reindeer hot links, grilled pineapple wrapped with bacon, and the chicken satay were highlights. I think we all might have actually gained weight on this trip….eva bbqChicken Satay. I was pretty proud of how this turned out, even though it was a little more work than I had planned for a camping trip 🙂 I’ll have to fine-tune the recipe to make it a bit easier in the backcountry. It was super worth it though 🙂chicken Satay

 

 





Blue skies, nice Pow….a few recent excursions

21 02 2013

Winter in AK started off slowly…early season conditions and a terrible snowpack plagued us till January. To top it off, I took a bad jump in flat light and injured my foot, so I’ve been on gimp status for most of Jan/Feb 😦

Pre-gimp skiing @ Hatcher’s with Dan.hatchers Eva.eva

 Dan skiing above the clouds on Marmot.dan marmot

skin b & w

blue

Went snowmachining at -13F in Hatcher’s with a fellow gimp, the Pirate, while I was gimpy too. Probably not what the doctor ordered, but I couldn’t resist and the powder was amazing…..IMG_6696pirate small IMG_6872-pirate small IMG_6887-pirate small

I finally made it back to skiing after 5 weeks off! Blower snow above 1000 ft. at Pete’s North. It was fabulous-until I fell and re-injured my foot. 😦 Back on gimp status.

Jon getting after it at as the sun just crests Pete’s South.IMG_7227-small





Nordic Blading @ the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge (and a little bit of skiing)

28 11 2012

I’ve been scoping them out for a couple years now, and finally made the plunge the day before Thanksgiving. I bought nordic blades. They open up a whole new world in skating, making the uneven surfaces and obstacles embedded into the surfaces of  lakes, marshes, and tarns easy to skate on. As Jeff put it-they are like the 4×4 of ice skating.  Also, I’m trying to make lemonade out of a lemon of a winter so far…..the lack of snow (zero) has definitely impacted my enthusiasm, so I’m embracing what we do have plenty of-ice! 

 

I never would have guessed to head to the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge to skate on the inlet had I not found a note about it on a local ice skating forum. We had extremely high tides combined with cold temps this week that made the inlet/refuge into a nordic blade haven. 

Eva and Dan heading into the noon sun….which isn’t far off the horizon this time of year.

Some challenging ice….Nordic blades make this stuff completely doable.

We found some beautiful ice! There were a lot of places where the ice was as nice as if it had been zambonied.

Jeff and Sabrina headed out with me a couple days later to try nordic blading. 

Tika seemed to get around just fine without skates.

I did manage to make it to Turnagain and ski over the weekend with Brian and Sabrina….to ski on snow that fell weeks ago. One of the only places that hasn’t been ripping out due to the cold, clear weather creating hoarfrost and instability was Tincan. We were suprised that it wasn’t as tracked out as we imagined it would be.

Sabrina enjoying the sunshine and temperature inversion on top of Tincan.

Just because Brian is one of the best snowboarders I know, I had to post this pic….it was fun watching him on skis for the first time since 7th grade 🙂

In all fairness, he did really well, and only fell this once.





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!





Early Season Skiing at the Jewel

24 10 2012

With blue skies and fresh snow, we decided to ski the Jewel Glacier (an early season gem) along with every other backcountry skier in Southcentral. Holy smokes it was crowded! I would’ve thought the 3.5 mile approach would’ve detered a few peeps….but not so much.

View of the Milk Glacier. Boone ditched us in the parking lot to ski the Milk, and on the lower right of the glacier, you can barely see Boone and his friends skinning up. They made the right decision to avoid the crowds and ski the Milk, they had it all to themselves.

  Boone & his friends skinning up the Milk.

View of Crow Pass and Crystal Lake. Rumor has it 12 people stayed in the cabin at the lake the night before. We saw a bunch more people headed in with big packs on our way out…..glad we did this as a day trip.

Kasey enjoying the fresh pow.

Ryan dropping in on a good line.

Kasey dropping a knee.

Kasey and Ryan headed back on the Crow Pass trail.





Summer skiing in AK…..

24 08 2012

Skiing Tincan in mid-July….still enjoying the epic winter we had! The best summer skiing ever.

Dan testing his mad slush cup skills. Yes, I got drenched taking this photo 🙂

Kasey, Dan, & Boone headed up to the Jewel Glacier on a warm August evening. Best (& longest) August ski!

The clouds rolled in over the glacier and created some interesting visibility.

The clouds were moving quickly. One moment white out, the next glimpses of the surrounding peaks.

Joel came to town from Australia and wanted some turns, so we I headed back to the Jewel. Found these four mountain goats right off the trail.

Joel checking out a waterfall off the end of the glacier.

70 months skiing and counting!





Multi-sportin’ it ~ Kayaking & Skiing Blackstone Bay

21 06 2012

We’ve been scheming for years to do a combo kayak/ski trip. This definitely seemed like the year to do it with the colossol amount of snow we still have. And the good news is my ski boots fit perfectly in a 20 liter dry bag in my back hatch!

The crew. Eva, Dan, and Sabrina dorking it up.

We headed out in the rain Friday for what I expected to be another soggy weekend in Prince William Sound. Luckily, I was wrong, and the gloom and doom clouds and rain turned into another amazing (and mostly sunny!) weekend in PWS. 🙂

Cool ice in front of the Beloit Glacier.

 

Sabrina is all smiles with the change in the weather.

Eva and Dan.

Eva and Dan.

An Extratuff approach.

Sabrina skiing the summer snow, which suprisingly was pretty good.

This was our compromise to getting two pairs of skis on the tandem. We  put my skis up front and Sabrina’s skis in the middle. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get her skis on back without them interferring with the rudder. Luckily, it wasn’t too long of a paddle from 17 mile beach to where we skiied.

We lucked out with calm waters in Blackstone. It wasn’t until we got close to Decision Point that we got a little bit of wind, but the waves and chop really picked up. It seemed like waves were coming from about five directions. We camped at Squirrel Cove and the next morning woke up to sunny skies and calm waters in Passage Canal.

Love my view.

 On our way back to Whittier, Dan sneaking in a beer while Eva paddles. Pure winning! 🙂





The Shrode Lake Cabin/Skiing in Prince William Sound

1 05 2012

We are probably the only people to drop a keg into a glide crack 🙂 No worries, it was definitely rescued! The fact that we were bringing three, five gallon kegs (of some of Midnight Sun’s finest), hardly made the fact the that I brought two sets of boxing gloves seem excessive.

Mike, Michelle, and Parker on the boat ride in.

We got dropped off on a beautiful, sunny perfect day in the Sound. I love PWS on a flat calm day! We lucked out and saw a young humpback whale on the way. We arrived at the put-in (we got dropped off before Three Fingers Cove because it was iced in) to an enormous amount of snow!

The snow towers over Michelle.  Jon (at 6′ 5″) was just able to touch the top of the snowbank from the beach. We’ve had an amazing winter in AK!

Jon and Dan on the ski in. Probably wouldn’t recommend heavy, overloaded sleds. We had an interesting tour in, to say the least, over the hilly terrain. It took us about 4 hours to get to the cabin, what should take an hour-ish. At least we made sure we were properly hydrated first 🙂

This butterfly kept landing on my skis. Again with the overpacking, I brought xc skis and my AT set-up.

It was hot outside! I’m glad I threw in a tank top and shorts at the last minute. We decided to go for a ski after we dropped our stuff of at the cabin. Boone with Shrode Lake on the right and PWS on the left.

Boone and Michelle checking out options.

Michelle and Mike descending down towards Shrode Lake.

We were told that the people that had the cabin the weekend prior found only the top 18 inches of the hut peaking through the snow. Luckily for us, they dug a burrow down into it.

Czech Yourself and Mammoth Stout-mmmm!

The suprise entertainment I brought-boxing gloves!

 Mike skiing above Jack Lake. The conditions were less than stellar. It had rained for the day and a half prior -what a surprise in PWS :), and the snow was saturated. We pointed our skis and barely moved. It felt like skiing with our skins on. But the tour was gorgeous…..

Mike and Michelle touring back across Jack Lake.

Michelle, Mike, and Parker found the perfect way to relax in the evening sun.

Our last day, Dan and I decided to get one last ski after we dropped our gear off at the pick up beach. It turned out to be pretty decent spring corn/slush.

Jon doing his share to lighten the load 🙂 Another glass calm day in PWS.

Michelle and Mike waiting at the pick up beach in style!





Skiing at Hatcher’s Pass

14 03 2012

We decided to switch things up a bit and head to Hatcher’s Pass to get some touring in. I usually only head up there early in the season, and was excited to find nice light powder, a few untracked lines, and good stability.

The crew.

Lee getting after it.

Jon making some turns.

Michelle aka Skittles.

Jon on the uptrack.

Kasey and Ryan.

Kasey dropping a knee.

Another beautiful day in the Talkeetnas. One of many spectacular views.

Michelle about to drop in on the sweetest, untracked long line.

Kasey wrapping up a great line and a beautiful weekend.








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