December 28, 2008

Trusty Rusty - Chugach State Park

Clear and cold, zero fahrenheit, and vapor-like snow. Starting out with a flexible plan, the trip turned into a terrific time; definitely worth repeating. Rusty is a flank of Wolverine Peak in Chugach State Park. It is relatively easy to reach, though the "front side" (southwest aspect) has what appear to be impenetrable brush from a looker's perspective.

I had checked out the southwest aspect yesterday, and even made a feeble attempt at ascending it, but bailed before making much progress. So, today I decided to go up the "back side", the northern aspect, the one I've reported skiing earlier this season.

A closer look at the "back side" where the uptrack is now set.

Looking across Campell Creek from the Rusty saddle, down the SW aspect.

Planning to ski the top 500 feet or so above the brush, and then climb back to the saddle, I found a gulley that drew me in. The gulley could be a terrain trap, but the snow is very stable, and the incline above the gulley was over 35 degrees in a small area. Skiing into the gulley got me stoked.

Looking up the SW aspect.

A few turns into the gulley brought the realization that there was no going back. The gulley was super fun, and I mentally prepared for some serious bushwhacking. From my view from below, the day before, there appeared to be broad swaths of interwoven alders. After 300 or 400 ft vertical in the gulley, the alders choked it out and exit was necessary. I luckily stumbled on an old moose trail (they don't really like bushwhacking either) and followed it. Before long I popped out on the Middle Fork Trail with very little brush beating.

Going home.

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