November 29, 2009

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving 2009 ski conditions on the Anchorage Hillside were among the best. A workout on Wolverine was today's agenda. The Prospect Heights area trails were groomed by drag and the snow was in great shape for the several dozen skiers and hikers I saw. The flanks of Wolverine above treeline held great snow, but needed a little settlement to achieve an excellent rating for turn-earning yo-yo laps; let's give it an 8 for a great top layer with unconsolidated base. Wolverine Bowl, Wolverine Peak, and Lost Cabin Valley Trails were fabulous today! Variously packed by either skis, snowshoes, or paws, the trail was in terrific shape and skiing was very good with rare 'bones'. The connector between the Powerline Trail and Spencer Loop was a blast - keep your head down on this one; deadfall and low hanging alders create some doozy head knockers.

November 28, 2009

Anchorage Chugach State Park - Heavenly Hillside

Exceptional conditions were the norm today on the ski trails of Chugach State Park in the Prospect Heights to Glen Alps corridor. Ski-set tracks had formed almost perfectly in the high density snow, tempered by last night's clear weather . The 8" of fluff beside the track created foamy flotation on the steeper pitches along the Anchorage Hillside trails.

Rusty from the South Rim Trail.

November 27, 2009

It's Back!

Anchorage Hillside skiing is here, again! This past storm left enough snow to form a nice base on summer trails. About 8" of dense snow fell at temperatures in the mid to high 20's, terrific base material.

Hillside single track bike trails are fun ski trails, too. With fresh snow, the single track trails are skiing great, but a little slow. But after packing out, these trails will be a thrill.

November 8, 2009

Pastoral November

Eruk, Lucy and yours truly had the Taylor Creek drainage and Pastoral to ourselves for a fun reconnaissance trip. Hiked the first 500 ft vertical in both directions due to thin snow cover, but otherwise had mostly good coverage for November 8.

I had the camera set on manual for the better part of the day, sorry.
It was good to ski with Eruk after so many years. Now that the kids are grown, attending college, we'll have to go more often.

Our not-quite-early start, fog, and unfamiliar route limited our trip to the red route today, a very nice tour. Someday I would really like to cross the Pastoral Glacier and ascend its eastern ridge.

November 2, 2009

Summit Sunshine

With anticipation, we endured.

Summit's bergschrund was filled in much more so than our pilgimage of a week prior.

Kruser, mw, Doc, and yours truly trudged toward the sun. We were rewarded.

mw unfixed the heel.

Doc tested the crevasse edge.

Jewel was still lacking adequate cover, so we opted for Summit. There is still plenty of ice there, but still the recession of the glacier and snowfields are testaments to climate change.

Kruser tested the shadow's edge.

Doc farmed Patrick's Line.

Like most glacial lines, Patrick's is not steep or particularly difficult, but it has a style and elegance reminiscent of Patrick. After 25 years, I can still clearly picture Patrick's sweeping arcs gracefully navigating the crevasses. So full of life and ready for adventure he was.

He was a true friend with a lot of heart who pushed the envelope. One time too far, he pushed it and perished in Cook Inlet whose waters are fed by his namesake.