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.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Three Passes - April 2007

April 21st 2007 the conditions were finally good enough for a ski trip I have wanted to do for a long time, namely to ski from Glen Alps around the Avalanche Peak by crossing over Powerline Pass, Indian Pass and Ship Pass. Even with near perfect conditions, the SE face of Avalanche Peak was exposed and not entirely safe (but no avalanches today). The whole loop took 4 hours in total.

Powerline Pass seen from the East. The gully in the center of the photo was perfect for a skate-ski descent.

Homocide Peak
Looking across the Indian valley towards the real Bird Ridge Overlook
Self-portrait with Homocide Peak in the background
On Indian Creek Pass looking south
On Indian Creek Pass looking north
Mt Williwaw from the southeast
South Fork Ship Creek
Upon returning to the Powerline Valley I caught up with half a dusin APU skiers led by Frode Lillefjell. They had tried the same trip as I did but in the opposite direction. They got cliffed out on the southeast face of Avalanche peak and had to retrace their steps.
Parting shot of Denali and Foraker from Glen Alps.