November 29, 2013

Goldcord Peak

With the thermometer registering below zero Fahrenheit, rallying in the morning darkness of late November seemed too ambitious. As I contemplated the alternatives of staying in bed and warmly dozing in the darkness, or getting up and dressing in 3 or 4 layers for a subzero ski trip, the memory of deep snow at Hatcher Pass took hold of my consciousness.
Yours Truly with Goldcord Peak Backdrop
Near Goldcord Peak Summit
Lap 2

Should we call the day after Thanksgiving, white Friday - a day to ski?

We made it to Goldcord Peak as a 6-man rally.  We skied incredibly good snow on the west aspect and the south aspect.
J-Rock Enjoying the View Atop Goldcord Peak

Photocredits:  Kruser & Yours Truly

November 10, 2013

Hatcher Pass Winter - Finally!

We made it to the Government Peak parking area, about 1500 feet vertical below our planned disembarkation at Hatcher Pass Lodge. With snow falling at about an inch per hour, we trudged up toward Government Peak, through alder alleys that had been obscured by the 2 feet of overnight snow. A few shakes with a ski pole, and the alders popped up and opened the alleys connecting the sizable meadows below the Frostbite line on Government Peak.
After slogging for 2 hours through unsettled, knee deep snow, we reached our turnaround time. With slopes above us steep enough to avalanche, visibility obscured by the snowfall with 15 mph wind, and the onset of darkness, we turned around for a sweet descent. Considering the yesterday's snow line was 1500 ft vertical higher, and the entire snowpack had fallen the night before, it was not surprising that whoomphing accompanied every step of our ascent with acre-sized areas settling as we made our way up the mountain.

If there is snow to ski, more likely than not, Kruser will be skiing it.  Early season skiing arrived late to Alaska, but Kruser's beta was perfect, and touring around High Grade was very, very good yesterday. A return trip would be all the more better after last night's 18" snowfall. Alas! No snowplow had ventured up to the Hatcher Pass Lodge. So, we settled for a storm skiing adventure on the flanks of Government Peak. It was worthy.
Parking Area Road Was Not Plowed
Early Season Creek Crossing