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.

Free the heel and free the mind (and occasionally plant the face.)

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.

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