September 29, 2013

Chugach Powder in September Sunshine

In 1984 we were wandering around the mountains of Crow Pass, Alaska seeking early season powder in the Western Chugach, when we stumbled onto Summit Mountain and its glacier bowl. Returning many times to Summit Mountain above the defunct Bahrenberg Mine, we usually find autumn powder.
Happy to Find His Shadow

Climbing below and through the clouds for three hours, Kruser exulted rediscovering his shadow. We found sunshine up high and boot top snow on the glacial base, good skiing worth a couple of laps. On 28-Sep-2013, skiable snow was 2500 feet vertical from the trail head.

Reminiscing the many seasons we've shredded our ski bases on the moraine with almost enough snow, we had mixed feelings about the obvious lack of skiable snow on the moraine. Thankful that we weren't tempted by more but-not-enough, and wistful to ski the moraine - a lot more fun and faster than down climbing.

This trip had a vertical ski-to-hike ratio of 0.375, on the low end of the Keenan scale, but not bad with fresh snow in September. The Crow Pass hike is beautiful, often with wildlife viewing of black bears and mountain goats and inspiring Western Chugach vistas.

Photocredits:  Kruser & Yours Truly

What will we find in the clouds?
Glacial Toe
Freeheeling mw

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