Sunday, September 16, 2007

Twenty-Mile River September 2007

Kayak Trip on Twenty-Mile River September 2007

After knee surgery on July 10th I had been sitting and lying (mostly lying) around for more than two months in rehab. By September I was going stir-crazy not being able to do anything besides stationary bike and rehab training. Kayaking offered the only outlet at this point. After a few easy trips on local lakes I headed out to Twenty Mile River on a bright September 16th. The Twenty Mile River flows at about 3 mph and being able to average 5-6 mph in the kayak I can make it up the river at 2-3 mph speed. What took 2 1/2 hours to kayak up took only 50 minutes to come back down. This is a great upper body workout ... and fun too.

The flacid lower part of 20-mile river and the nice vistas

Some places the river picks up speed, and I have to output a bit more enrgy to get up!

Fall colors are starting ... already on September 16th

Observe the double (triple) chin ... the result of laying around for over 2 months.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mt Bona May 2007

Mount Bona, Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, Alaska (May 2007 )
with Toby Schwoerer, Scott Gatchell and Adam Verrier

Mt Bona, at 16431 ft, is the fourth highest mountain in the USA

We flew in to the Klutlan glacier on May 19th and established base camp at ~10000 ft. Becasue of very nice weather, we decided to move up the mountain as quickly as possible due to the infamous storms in this area. On day 2, Toby and I carried supplies to 13000 ft and returned to base while the others had to deal with altitude symptoms. On day 3, we picked up our cash at 13000 ft and moved camp to about ~13500 ft. Day 4 was still good for climbing but with some high clouds and increasing winds. We decided to try to summit on day 4 becasue we felt a storm was coming in. Toby and I summited while Scott and Adam had to turn around at ~15000 ft. The summit climb was extremely windy and cold. Day 5 we were stuck in high camp due to a 24 snow storm. On day 6, in sted of attempting Mt. Churchill, we decided to move back down to base camp because a couple of the team members were suffering from cold and altitude effects. That same evening we flew back out to civilization.

Adam, Scott and Toby hanging out at the Chitina airstrip.

Still waiting ... we waited from 6 am until 4 pm on a perfact day for flying and we almost thought we'd have to stay another night in Chitna when our flight finally showed up.

University Peak

Lower part on Mt Bona. The route goes up to the left of the ice fall in the center of the photo
Drop-off at the Klutlan glacier

Basecamp on the Klutlan at about 10,000 feet

Toby carving some tele-turns after making a cache dump at 13,000 feet

The cast ... Toby ...

... Adam ...

... Scott ...

... and Trond.

Well fortified basecamp on the Klutlan

Ready to move up to high camp at 13,500. The view is down the Klutlan glacier

View towards the Northeast

Heading up towards high camp

Ready for Mt Bona summit attempt from high camp at 13,500 feet

Heading across the Churchill/Bona plateau towards Mt Bona

At the base of the summit pyramid we stash skies and donn crampons. Adam and Scott decide to turn around due to cold and fatigue. Toby and I decide to push on.

Trond heading up towards the summit in strong wind

Toby on the false summit
We made it.

Tele-Toby coming back down towards high camp in perfect powder.

More Tele-Toby

Storm day in high-camp

What's for dinner?

Toby and Scott in snowcave we dug at high camp to get out of the wind and snow

Returning to basecamp

Mt Churchill's beautiful summit ridge

Wrangell mountains panorama

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Girdwood to Glen Alps - April 2007

Girdwood to Glen Alps - April 2007 with Frode Lillefjell

After several good weeks of crust skiing, Frode and I decided to try to ski from Girdwood to Glen Alps over Crow Pass, Paradise Pass and Ship Pass. Although the weather was gorgeous, we had quite variable conditions, making a 6 hour trip into a 10 hour struggle.

Early morning start (6 am) from the Crow Creek Mine road in Girdwood. Heading up to Crow Pass was very tricky this morning. The snow had frozer rock solid over-night and Frode and I had to front point up long, exposed 30 degree slopes on our skate boots.
Looking into the Eagle River drainign from Crow Pass. Paradise valley is the first valley to the left in front of the triangular mountain
Raven glacier
Good crust heading down along the Raver Creek Paradise Valley
Heading up towards Paradise Pass
On Paradise Pass looking East
On Paradise Pass looking west into the North Fork Ship Creek drainage

Frode on Paradise Pass Coming down off of Paradise Pass in 2 feet of powder (avalanche conditions!)
Not exactly crust skiing at the upper end of North Fork Ship Creek (this photo is taken just above Grizzly Bear lake)
Looking back towards Paradise Pass

Lower in the North Fork Ship Creek we caught up with three hungry brown bears. Fortunately, they didn't like our shouting and let us pass unharmed.
No more photes from this trip. The last four hours of the trip I bonked harder than ever before and even thinking of taking photos were out of the question. We finished at the Glen Alps trailhead around 4:30 pm after walking though sloppy mush the last few hours. The trip took much longer than expected and the crust did not hold up very good. Also adding to the time it took was the fact that several miles coming up the South Fork of Ship Creek there was no snow at all and we had to carry our skies. If I ever do this trip again it will be in the other direction ... that should improve the crust conditions significantly and make the descent from Crow Pass much safer in soft snow.