October 31, 2008
October 26, 2008
Kruser rallies and I have to go. The 5" fresh snow of the lowest density, and the weather report of sunny skies and no wind overnight made it a GO.
The snow on the north facing slopes was a "10". Billowing as we descended, the snow just hung in the air like smoke. The base is there, but we couldn't feel it on the descent - it was more like floating. And we even found remnants of our uptrack from last week to make the trail breaking tolerable (after 8 hrs breaking yesterday, we needed it.) No wind, sunny skies, and cold smoke.
October 25, 2008
We were planning to circumnavigate The Pinnacle, shown here in the sunshine.
Here is Kruser in the Fairangel basin. Fairangel Lakes are surrounded by enormous boulders. There are lots of boulder fields in the Talkeetna Mountains, but the Fairangel boulders are super huge, some like a Mack truck.
We couldn't see and the day was getting short, so we skied to the Archangel Road - found it right at the Firn Mine Gate. Skied the Archangel Road (closed to vehicles, but it had a nice ski track.) Then I hitchhiked back to Independence and Kruser skied down to the MotherLode where I picked him up with the car.
A splendid adventure.
October 19, 2008
Kruser, MW, and yours truly made the October pilgrimage to Hatcher Pass October 18. Weather was a "10" - brilliant blue skies and nearly no wind. Sun effects on the south sides gave way to hoary crystalline pleasure on the north aspects.
Microdot is just east of the Independence Mine winter parking lot and overlooks the ghost town.
Undecided at the Independence Mine State Park lot, we headed up toward Independence, pondering a tour over Friendship Pass, but finally deciding that Microdot was the peak of choice - a good choice it turned out to be. We made 5 laps on northerly aspects. We scraped a few rocks, but found exceptional coverage for October 18. http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/indmine.htm
The day before, 17-Oct, I toured up to the saddle of Friendship Pass and found substantial avalanche debris on the north face of Friendship P. The steep, smooth rock faces above and east of the pass had loaded up and released on the couloir below (our normal ski line!) With suncrust on the south side of Friendship Pass, coupled with the avalanche rubble on our line, we opted for Microdot.
Ski cut the cornice, survived, so we skied it.
Kruser with his cranium protector is ready to test the stability.
Ski ze lac!
MW tests the couloir.
Lac du Microdot (aka Goldcord Lake) was stable, too.
Microdot was fabulous. Hoar crystals up to an 1" long had formed on the surface. We enjoyed lots of hoary sloughage on the steeps. Some settlement around boulders on the up track; we ski cut the minor cornices at the entries to our couloirs with no signs of instability. Thanks to Kruser for images.
22 years consecutive months and counting.
October 13, 2008
Sunday, 12-Oct-2008 was one of those Arctic Valley beauties with sunshine and calm air while clouds blanketed Anchorage. No photos, sorry.
Ski to live.