February 16, 2014

Shark Fin Turnagain

Shark Fin at Turnagain, an adventure tour. Thanks to Johnny Rocketship, yours truly finally made it to Shark Fin. After wandering around lost through this dense forest before, it was really nice skiing with J-Rock who knew the route.
Johnny Rocketship Launch from Shark Fin
Shark Fin to the highway is not far, but in between, there are two significant creeks in canyons with cliffs, open water, and deep pools. The Turnagain Pass section of the Iditarod National Historic Trail created easier access to Eddies, but access to Shark Fin remains arduous.
Our uptrack intersected Wolverine Creek higher than planned and we came face-to-face with rocky cliffs. After backtracking 10 minutes, we descended to the creek more than 100-ft vertical in the dense forest on a 40-degree slope covered with 10" of snow on moss and tree roots. Reaching the canyon floor, we faced more cliffs on the opposite bank. Backtracking further downstream, we found a tenuous looking place to cross and tip-toed across a deep pool with water running audibly beneath the ice supporting our skis.

We wound up on the opposite side of the creek below a steep, 100-ft high bank with deadfall that tested our hip flexor limits on the ascent. After our creek crossing adventure and our traverse to Shark Fin, we slowly broke trail through alder patches, hemlock and open slopes in knee-deep powder. A couple of laps in the exceptional quality snow nearly erased the memory of the painful ascent.

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