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 ūüôā 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 ūüė¶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 ūüôā I’ll have to fine-tune the recipe to make it a bit easier in the backcountry. It was super worth it though ūüôāchicken Satay

 

 





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.





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.

 





R.I.P. the Lane Glacier

13 10 2011

The Lane glacier is dead. Well, almost. We headed up there last weekend for some early season fresh pow (it used to be THE place to go ski in September.) We figured, certainly a week into October there should be something decent.

Dan, Parker, Cosmo, Chad, and Jon on the hike in.

What we found was the Fast and Slow Lanes no longer connect. The Fast Lane is very short. The boulder field to get there always sucked, now it seems 4x as long as the glacier has receded, and you have to travel up the valley a lot farther to reach skinable/skiable terrain.

A look back partway up the talus field. We used to be able to skin through this area.

Hiking over boulders with 4 inches of snow is always a little challenging-although it’s better than the last time I went 3 years ago and there was 8 inches….although then you could ski all the way down to the boulder field above the Lane hut.

More boulders. Chad and Boone negotiating the endless field of talus with the Fast Lane above them.

We checked out the Fast Lane first. We didn’t end up skiing it-the measly four inches of snow was not bonded at all to the glare ice underneath. Boone, Chad, and Cosmo hiked up and over, meeting the rest of us at the Slow Lane. Dan and I decided not to join them when we saw Cosmo lose his footing and slide halfway down the icefield.

Boone hiking up the Fast Lane.

Chad on the Slow Lane.

Boone.

Boone skiing what he called “loud powder”- four inches of snow on top of glare ice.

Our tracks on what’s left of¬†the Slow Lane.

Boone, Chad, and Cosmo on the trek out.





Colorado Creek Cabin

26 04 2011

Sometimes, even the best planned trips, don’t go as planned. Six of us were set to spend a four day weekend at the Shrode Lake cabin in Prince William Sound for a weekend of skiing, kayaking, hot tubbing in our portable hot tub, and two kegs of Midnight Sun finest. It’s fair to say we weren’t planning on packing light¬†for this trip, to say the least¬†ūüôā But, at the last minute,¬†gale force winds and 10 ft seas kept us out of the Sound, so we¬†checked the weather around the state, quickly repacked our gear (much less of it!) and headed north to Fairbanks where warm, sunny skis greeted us.¬†We spent the night in Fairbanks with Katie and Will, and then the six of us headed north to the White Mountains and the Colorado Creek cabin.

The trail is about 14 miles each way, mostly in and out of a forest of spruce trees-many that had been through a forest fire in recent years. Although, once you rise in elevation,get near the cabin, the views open up to the beautiful white mountains. 

Sabrina, Parker, and Jon headed in through burned spruce trees.

Lots of windswept snow in the pass above the cabin.

Dan (in the sleeping bag), Sabrina, Jon, and Parker suntanning-Alaska style!

Lots of chill-axing went on once we reached the cabin.

Dan reading in the evening light.

The White Mountains.

Dan and Parker skiing off into the sunset.

Sabrina showing off her ninja moves at sunset.

It ended up to be a great last minute xc ski trip-allbeit not the backcountry ski trip we had planned. Next year!





Lost Lake and the Clemens Cabin

4 02 2011

View from the Clemens Cabin.

Friday night Kasey, Jon, Sabrina, Parker and I headed in to meet Dan at the Clemens cabin.¬† Kasey and I skinned up the trail, while Jon and Sabrina used ice cleats to negotiate the icy snowmachine trail up to the cabin.¬† I had to eventually take my skis off (had a problem with one of my skins) and hiked up too. That’s when I had the “Amber Moment” ūüôā Somehow, I wound up falling in the creek while putting on my backpack (it was heavy and threw me off balance.) Oops!

Unfortunately, while we were gone from Dan’s Subaru, someone broke into it at the Lost Lake trailhead and stole my entire backcountry setup between 9:30 pm Friday Jan 28, 2011 and 12:15 pm¬†Jan 30, 2011. My Icelantic Nomad skis (size 168). They’ve been mounted twice, once with Fritschis, and once with Dynafit Verticals¬†that were on them when they got stolen. Also my orange Black Diamond skins that were on them, as well as my blue Garmont Megaride AT/Randonee boots (size 26.5) with Sole Dean Karnazes insoles.¬† Also missing was Dan’s black Stillwater Nordic Racing fleece vest, an old avalanche shovel, and Kasey’s skate ski poles.¬† If you have any info on the whereabouts of these items please call me at 907-244-2688 or the Alaska State Troopers at 907-262-4453. I just want my stuff back!

Other than that gigantic loss, we had a great weekend in the mountains.

Clemens Cabin

Saturday morning Dan and Kasey ended up heading in to Lost Lake to get some teleturns in, while Jon, Sabrina, Parker and I went for a xc ski on the snowmachine trails. We quickly found some nearby hills that we decided to try our luck at teleturns in our leather boots and fishscales.

Jon

Jon crashing

Sabrina

Faceplant!

Then Sabrina and Jon decided to huck a cornice on their xc ski gear. I was paparazzi.

Unfortunately, I failed. I missed the shot of Jon mid-air.

Parker

Me

Pano of the mountains near Lost Lake.

City lights of Seward and Big Dipper.

 

Seward city lights lighting up the clouds, Kasey and I used our headlamps to light up the trees.





Portage Lake-Portage Glacier XC ski with Sabrina & Parker/Merry Christmas 2010

29 12 2010

On Christmas day, Sabrina, Parker, and I decided to head out for a chilly (about -10F at the glacier) xc ski across Portage Lake to Portage Glacier.  It was a beautiful, frigid, & sunny day. Suprisingly we had the lake to ourselves.

 

Sabrina and Parker

Chunk of ice in front of Bard Peak 

Sabrina taking Parker’s photo

Portage Glacier

Interesting ice at the top of the glacier

Me and Sabrina dorking it up

Our tracks








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