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Thread: AK

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    AK

    Worked on it for 20 years and finally made it happen this year. Heli-trip in AK (hat tip to unnamed maggot for setting me up with the right operation, and thanks to those in my group for most of these images). April 15-22, Points North Heli.

    First view of AK:

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    Home for the next week:

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    Nice sunset provided a sense of the calm before the upcoming storm.

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    Ski day 1:

    We got on it from run 1--got lucky with the (and talked my way into the) good group and incredible guide (guide and part of the group had been together the previous year). When I saw where we were first landing, and that the heli's skids were hanging into space on that first landing I could hardly believe it (but by the end of the day it would be routine).

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    We had sun every day, and while it hadn't snowed for about a week when we arrived (and it didn't snow while I was there) every day we got everything from excellent, wintry boot deep powder to perfect spring corn (and everything in between, including wind-blown hard pack, light breakable crust, etc.). Not completely 'charge it' conditions, but really ideal for skiing some big, steeper lines.

    Scale a little tough to tell, but this does something to show it (sorry for crappy filming--no viewfinder (screen instead) makes filming in light tough):



    Day 2:



    Got to ski this middle ramp:

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    Skied past some pretty stuff:

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    And got to ski down to this amazing glacial terminus:

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    Day 3 started with yet another oddball landing with the heli still in a hover so we could ski this

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    Something over 3000 vert, 52 degrees at the top and 48 through the middle.







    Getting in took a little doing:



    Everybody skiing pretty gingerly through this part--no one wanted to take a tumble here:



    But able to open it up lower down:



    Out of the chunder and onto the apron:


    Day 4 opened with the hairiest landing yet--full hover, neither skid even touching the snow, just the nose toed in so we could ski this:

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    But first, some housekeeping--digging out the LZ in case other groups might come through and knocking down some cornice (it turned out we only dug it out for ourselves for the following day when we would ski the other side):

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    We skied down later to this scenic spot and had lunch there:

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    All of which led to skiing this beast; the line of the trip.

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    A closer view of the top of it:

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    It took our group a solid hour to ski this. There was definitely even more than the usual amount of nervous energy surrounding this one, but I didn't really appreciate it until we got to the last, easy pitch before the pick-up zone and our guide, who had been consistently cool and unperturbed until then, exclaimed, "I can't believe I fucking took you guys down that!" as the last skier came in. Top was a set of very steep spines, then skiing a steep, open pitch of about 1000 vert over some exposure, before making our way through some scary seracs at the bottom. There had been a lot of chatter on the radio about not making any turns through the bottom part with the seracs, but I didn't fully get it until I was below them:



    The ride back in that afternoon was a lot quieter than usual as the adrenaline ebbed and everyone slowly came to terms with the descent we had just skied. I would find out later that it's not considered a 'client' route and that one of the other helicopters had been told to stay put nearby while we skied the line, just in case.

    Day 5 would include some corn harvesting:

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    But also some more wintry skiing:

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    Last edited by Dexter Rutecki; 05-06-2017 at 02:52 PM.
    [quote][//quote]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    40°39'32.94"N 111°35'45.68"W
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    529
    Sweet TR. Love AK.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Impossible to knowl--I use an iPhone
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    cont.

    One last, new big line that we actually skied twice.

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    Here, on the way up to it, if you watch the last second you can see the ridiculous, postage stamp LZ:



    Hopping the berguschrund down lower:

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    The bergschrund in question:

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    And we went back to get one we had skied a few days earlier, which now didn't seem nearly as steep as it originally had (it all becomes pretty relative after a few days of this stuff).



    A few random videos:





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    Last edited by Dexter Rutecki; 05-06-2017 at 04:15 PM.
    [quote][//quote]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    3,377
    Sweet TR! Thanks for sharing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Helltown, MT
    Posts
    1,391
    Good stuff man.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Mi lugar feliz
    Posts
    8,031
    Dude, nice - really nice.
    山、川、森林、砂漠、海、空

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Masshole
    Posts
    484
    Sick Bird! Fuck yeah is right.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    7,990
    congrats!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Magically whisked away to...Delaware
    Posts
    1,183
    Seriously...that's a lifetime of amazing photos and videos! Good on ya!
    It makes perfect sense...until you think about it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    pdx
    Posts
    7,667
    Wow, memorable trip!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    218
    So fucking good bud!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    cordova,AK
    Posts
    2,195
    congratulations on catching one of the best weeks of a horrible season. Kevin was wrong when he told me no steep lines would get skied this season. Glad you got to prove him wrong.
    off your knees Louie

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    615
    Wow

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    idaho panhandle!
    Posts
    4,086
    Well. Fucking. Done!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1,037
    Very nice!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    north aspect
    Posts
    32,522
    Quote Originally Posted by 2FUNKY View Post
    Well. Fucking. Done!
    Word! Nice TR, DexR!!!
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3,134
    I would sell my soul to KSL for a week like that!
    "The skis just popped me up out of the snow and I went screaming down the hill on a high better than any heroin junkie." She Ra

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
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    2,487
    Awesomeness. Worth the wait

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    On the field
    Posts
    463
    Just like magic mt
    Great trip

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Impossible to knowl--I use an iPhone
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coño Frío View Post
    Sweet TR. Love AK.
    Quote Originally Posted by AKbruin View Post
    Sweet TR! Thanks for sharing.
    Quote Originally Posted by yeahman View Post
    Good stuff man.
    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Dude, nice - really nice.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhishingME View Post
    Sick Bird! Fuck yeah is right.
    Quote Originally Posted by wyeaster View Post
    congrats!
    Quote Originally Posted by smartyiak View Post
    Seriously...that's a lifetime of amazing photos and videos! Good on ya!
    Quote Originally Posted by acinpdx View Post
    Wow, memorable trip!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    So fucking good bud!
    Quote Originally Posted by TheSilverSurfer View Post
    Wow
    Quote Originally Posted by 2FUNKY View Post
    Well. Fucking. Done!
    Quote Originally Posted by Kopi_Red View Post
    Very nice!
    Quote Originally Posted by flowing alpy View Post
    Word! Nice TR, DexR!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Pow View Post
    Awesomeness. Worth the wait
    Thanks all of you--and to be honest, as good as it looks in the pics/vids, they don't even do the experience justice.


    Quote Originally Posted by tone capone View Post
    I would sell my soul to KSL for a week like that!
    It would be worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by yellofin View Post
    Just like magic mt
    Great trip
    Yeah, just like it. That's a problem that I am confident I have the will to ignore.

    Quote Originally Posted by BFD View Post
    congratulations on catching one of the best weeks of a horrible season. Kevin was wrong when he told me no steep lines would get skied this season. Glad you got to prove him wrong.
    Pretty sure he was as surprised as everyone was--although I believe they may have only had around 15 'up' days for the entire (10 week) season. I started talking to PNH in December or early January, and when I checked in in February I got an unbelievably bad report which included (verbatim, I believe), "All I can tell you is stay away from Alaska right now." After looking like it would be a complete wash I got completely, incredibly lucky for what turned out to be probably the only week I could've gone.

    Bottom line on all of this is that it's so unbelievably good that I would advise anyone who really wants to ski big lines to get the hell up there. Really can't say it strongly enough--if you like that kind of skiing I'm just not sure there is anything better, or possibly even compares.
    [quote][//quote]

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    3,158
    Well done. Thanks for posting!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Impossible to knowl--I use an iPhone
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    10,463
    So, kind of ran out of time and then forgot about this after posting, but wanted to put up one last part--the last day, my only non-fly day (we were worked from the previous days and had already had to purchase more fly time, which for me included a call to my cc company to raise my credit limit and a phone call home advising the wife that we would be unable to make any more purchases that month as additional Jet A had already accounted for all our cash).

    At the town museum (this is Cordova which is on Prince William Sound, site of the Exxon Valdez disaster), the "Shame Pole," which includes illustrations of dead animals and the Exxon CEO.

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    Also in the museum, the only bear I saw up there, to my disappointment (have done better in NH):

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    Then off to the town glacier:

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    And with that it was on the milk route plane through some small AK towns, Juneau (smaller town than I thought), to red eye it through Seattle, Chicago, and finally LGA.

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    Big bonus: car was still on the random corner in Queens where I had left it and had not even been fucked with (this time).

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    That's all, folks. Seriously, get yourselves up there. Mortgage the house, sell the kids, pimp out the pets, whatever. You will not regret going.

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    Last edited by Dexter Rutecki; 06-04-2017 at 07:53 AM.
    [quote][//quote]

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    heart in terrace, ass in cowtown
    Posts
    2,260
    Right on man! Glad you could nail it, thanks for the TR!
    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    738
    FKNA

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    26,252
    Really glad to see you made the trip, Dex.

    FKNA indeed!!!

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