Xc Skiing on Ice-the Crescent Saddle Cabin Trip

12 02 2014

We had originally reserved the Crescent Saddle cabin in November, when backcountry skiing in February seemed realistic. While Georgia seems to be getting snow, we don’t have much in Alaska……We’re having¬†the strangest winter I’ve EVER seen. Temps in the 50’s and corn @ Alyeska in January, loads of rain, and lots of sun too. Temperatures have finally settled to normal and we decided to get out of town and head into the cabin as a xc ski trip instead of backcountry ski trip. The trail up to Carter Lake was glaciated, but not bad to walk on with ice grippers. When we got to Crescent lake this is what we encountered…..Image

The lake had frozen in many spots with these ice waves! It made skiing challenging ūüôā There were also a few spots with completely clear/flat ice-perfect for ice skating. But they were far and few between on the east side of the lake.

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There was wind drifted snow 1-2 inches deep too. That afternoon we skied to the west side of the lake-more snow (less ice) at first, then things drastically changed to glare ice and pretty much no snow….It was a cornucopia of conditions ūüôā

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Dan skiing by with headlamps on his wrists.

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Ghost of Dan, aurora, and ski poles. Headlamps on his ankles.

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We didn’t get the aurora show everyone else got, due to steep mountains surrounding the lake, but we did get a little bit.

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Early the next morning the aurora came out again, dancing with faint pink & purples as the lake ice cracked and groaned with sounds of growing. Overnight temps were around 0 to -5f.

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Dan & Ben headed back towards Carter Lake. Another sunny, bluebird day. Can’t complain about the Vitamin D!Image

Another sea of wavy ice.

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The Crescent Saddle Cabin Ski Trip

31 01 2012

Our thermometer bottomed out at -25F¬†on the¬†ski¬†in, so lets just say it was colder than that. At 12:30 AM, after 4 hours of skiing by stars-it was so cold¬† our headlamps we nearly useless because our breath clouded the air in front of us-we finally arrived at the Crescent Saddle Cabin. It took us a bit longer than we anticipated since we had to break trail across Carter and Crescent Lakes, unable to find a snowmachine¬†track to follow across the lakes,¬†and we brought heavy loads with¬†a ton of gear for lofty plans that should’ve¬†got axed at the trailhead ūüôā¬†We stayed up till 4:30 AM trying to warm up the cabin, before we crawled into our sleeping bags¬†wearing every layer we had with us. The cabin was 7F degrees next to the wood stove and the walls still frosty.

Everyone’s favorite. Hoarfrost on the toilet.

Feeding the fire all night we managed to get it up to a balmy 27F degrees by the time we dragged ourselves out of bed. Walls still frosty. Dan, Heidi, and I headed out for a tour up the saddle between Crescent and Kenai lakes, continuing on up the mountain on the left, while Lee and Jon stayed behind to cut more (much needed) firewood and keep the fire going. Daytime temps warmed up to  -5F, almost a heat wave!

Dan skinning up.

It was a bluebird day with fresh powder. We had a blast making the only tracks on the mountain!

Heidi skiing.Dan skiing.Heidi making turns.Dan cruising through the trees.

The skiing was amazing! When we arrived back at the cabin Lee and Jon had managed to get the cabin up to a reasonable temperature so our beer could unfreeze ūüôā Actually,¬†by early evening as the temperatures dropped again outside,¬†the cabin¬†was warm enough to layer down to just our long underwear and the walls defrosted. Success!¬†

Lee and Parker headed across Crescent Lake on the way home.

 








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