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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Eagle River Alaska

    Springtime in the Chugach (TR)

    We have had basically the worst season I can remember here in AK, it rained all of November, then snowed a bit, then didn't snow till February, then snowed like 15 feet at elevation then rained at elevation in March, but now it is April and the days are long and the corn grows tall, and the north slopes are still winter. It's the best time of the year. And even with the measly snowpack, shit is stable and lines that are usually not skiable are good to go.

    Exhibit 1: South Facing Couloir in south Anchorage.

    The day started with dreams of ticking off a big line behind my childhood home which I stood on top of one day in April 2005 and thought "damn, that would be a fun thing to ski" on the way to a different objective. However my partner called and with regret she had to bail. After finding no partners I went to plan B. A south facing while line down the mountain I was pretty sure would be a rad ski, and had frozen very solid the night before, figuring this would be the safest option for a solo trip.

    The first thing I noticed was that the ground on the fire road to the bottom of it was still frozen despite hours of direct sunlight. Eventually I switched to skins and started skinning up a frozen shoulder, cursing my lack of crampons (this would be continuing theme on this trip) about halfway up I decided to sit a spell here, and switch to booting

    Booted up the couloir until I got to a natural resting point out of the wind about 100 vert from the ridge. Figured I should drink my summit beer now, as I figured it would be windy and I would not want to hang out on the ridge long.

    You can probably guess what happened next, 2 hours of solid snow climbing and traversing to get myself into position.

    These were very good climbing conditions, and I had brought my whippet, and despite the horrible structure of the snowpack there didn't seem to be much energy in it I felt fairly secure in not having to worry about avalanches, just having to worry about falling off the mountain.

    The view from the summit was spectacular. I wished I had brought another beer.

    Now came the fun part. I transitioned and clicked in, reviewing my line in my head. It was fairly important I hit the right choke or I would end up in rocks.

    Negotiating the first little rock band was no problem I stood above the choke, knowing I had nothing but snow below me

    The snow in the top half was a bit crunchy. Down low it was suuuper grade A corn. 1500 vert later I got back to the trail and started walking back.

    That was a good day
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Tahoe City

    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Like I told my last wife, I never drive faster than I can see, besides it's all in the reflexes.

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