October 24, 2011

Easier, Faster or Scarier

Faster or easier?  Is the uptrack objective ease or speed?  Sometimes the uptrack solution is both faster and easier, especially a multi-lap track.  Other times, it's just the subject of the uptrack conversation. 
Faster or Easier?
The conversation yesterday gravitated to the technical aspects of the optimal uptrack.  Kruser, mw, and yours truly had plenty of time to debate the uptrack fastness and easyness as we diverged from the Crow Pass Trail.  Agreement on the optimal uptrack remained unresolved as we topped out on Summit Mtn, but Patrick's Line transformed the conversation into total agreement on the extraordinary quality of that line.
Powder Agreement
We had good snow and fair light conditions.  On the return leg, the light was exceptional and we enjoyed the excellent base and snow on Barnes Mountain down to about 2000 ft elevation.  Overall, it was unanimous:  Patrick's Line is fabulous. 

Viewing Patrick's Line in very early season, or late summer, and remembering the location of the big crevasses is recommended.  It's not difficult to avoid them if you know where they are, but Summit Glacier crevasses are difficult to see with fresh snow or flat light, and some of them are big enough to fall into.
Patrick's is a long meandering line dropping 1500 vertical feet down the entire Summit Mountain Glacier, and then down to Raven Glacier via a north-facing gulley on skiers' right of Little Jewel.

Little Jewel has some terrific lines in its own right, though it has no glaciated base, i.e. it has some sharp Chugach rocks.  Returning to the Crow Pass Trailhead from Patrick's can be accomplished by either skinning back up to the saddle shown above (easier and faster), or skiing down the west side of Little Jewel and following the Crow Pass Trail back toward Girdwood.  The west side of Little Jewel has some terrific lines interspersed among cliffs (scarier).

Photocredits:  Kruser
Theme Credit:  mw

1 comment:

Chugach Man said...

Crikey I'm homesick!! Just watched "steep" again, and can't wait to get back up in December...