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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Center Ridge, Again

2 05 2011

Sabrina joined me for another warm, beautiful spring day of  ski touring at Center Ridge.





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





XC skiing Hatcher’s Pass with Leanne, Backcountry skiing Sunburst with Dan

15 11 2010

The weather in Hatcher’s was warm and sunny for our xc ski at Independence Mine. There was less snow coverage than usual this time of year-about 1-2 inches near the parking lot and¬†6 inches or so up at Independence Mine, and¬†8 inches at Gold Cord Mine.

Old mining buildings at Independence Mine.

View above Independence Mine.

Leanne skiing down from Gold Cord Mine.

We headed south¬†to Turnagain Pass to ski Sunburst last Saturday…..as did half of Anchorage.¬† Luckily, we got there early and were ahead of most of the crew.¬† Conditions were interesting……It had been warm and wet¬†the few days prior and froze friday night. It had also been windy at the top which crusted up the fresh powder.¬† Mid mountain the skiing was the best-no/little wind crust and decent snow, then the torture of the bottom.¬† The bottom was a mess-ice crust, alders not completely covered, but,¬†anchored to catch your ski tips-a chunked up concrete mess.¬† Luckily, we made it down without any injuries.

Dan headed down.

Some of the wind crusty chunks flying.








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