November 25, 2012

Touring Turnagain Pass

Everyone loves Turnagain Pass.  We found the quiet untracked experience on the Turnagain Pass Iditarod Trail as we enthusiastically extended the trailbreak to Tincan where we found a broken ski trail.  The new trail was graded at moderate angles good for cross-country skiing on waxless and waxbase skis.
Exploring upper Ingram Creek was great fun and it was the source of a flood of ideas for future trips along the Iditarod with heavier alpine touring gear.   We employed our lightweight, doublecamber skis on the well-worn trail at Lower Eddy's used mostly by people on AT, splitboards, etc. heading up to tilted terraine on Eddy's.  Snow conditions were slightly icy from Lower Eddy's to the fork where most of the traffic split to the east, but the graded trail was comfortably wide enough to control speed on xc skis.  Trail conditions from that fork to Tincan were very good (we broke trail for a mile or so at the upper most elevation of the Turnagain Iditarod Trail.  We turned around at the Tincan uptrack - I haven't seen a report on the Tincan-to-Johnson section.
There are six (or so) bridges on the trail between Lower Eddy's and Tincan.  We skied a leisurely out and back, but with a couple of vehicles or a willingness to hitchhike, a one-way trip from Lower Eddy's to the northern Johnson Trailhead promises to be a terrific ski tour - hope to report back on that trip.

November 12, 2012

Sunday Sunshine

DP, mw and yours truly made the November pilgrimage to Tincan, the most popular mountain in Alaska for self-propelled skiers and riders.  We enjoyed great weather and snow worthy of multiple laps.  Though our ski bases were a little worse for the wear after enduring a few scritchy encounters with rocks.  We found good quality snow above 1800 ft el, breakable crust from 1800 - 1500 ft, and thaw-freeze hard snow below 1500 ft elevation.