Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AK Update III

Off to Valdez with Dylan and Lars for the next 4 days.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Scandinavian Hut

The Skier Boyz expedition was severely impacted by Mount Redoubt. Kaboom! "You want the Neacolas?," it bellowed. "Come and get them!" Kaboom! We felt great fear and a warming sensation in our trousers. We scrambled like cockroaches when the lights come on. By the time the dust (ash) settled we found ourselves at the Scandinavian Hut.

The hut is located above the Matanuska Glacier and along side the Scandinavian Glacier. This hut is owned by the Mountaineering Club of Alaska. The MCA owns 8 huts in Alaska. In addition to the Scandinavian, there are 4 in the Talkeetna Mountains and 3 on the Eklutna Trascent. MCA membership runs $15 a year and includes unlimited use of all the huts. Don't tell the Rainbows; we don't want these to turn into a high alpine hippie filth-fest. Members also get a newsletter and access to a wealth of info and a monthly meeting with juice.

Getting to the Scandinavian Hut:
The hut is off the grid. We flew with Mike Meekin's Air Service out of Sheep Mountain. You can also fly with another pilot out of Chickaloon. Both pilots flew us in one by one in Super Cubs. The flight is about 25 minutes long and jaw dropping. They land on the Scandinavian Glacier and from there it is about 1/4 mile to the hut: up a moraine, diagonally down a moraine, diagonally up a moraine, kick, push, coast. Meekin left a sled (orange with blue handles like you had as a tot) tricked out with webbing to secure the load and to act as a tail for someone to wrangle the sled from behind. Those sidehills can eat a bag of hot diapers.

Upstairs: The upstairs is strictly for sleeping. It fits 6 friendly friends. There are plenty of foam pads that live in the hut, but bring a thermarest. There is a Diversity Rainbow (Gay) Flag that Bret slept under every night. It was between 25-50°F and in the sleeping area with 4 people. (overnight lows outside were between -10 and 20°F)

Downstairs: There is a kitchen area outfitted with plenty of pots, pans, silverware, coffee mugs, and dish soap. I used my own stuff, but no one got sick using the kitchen wares of questionable origin. There is an old school two burner Coleman stove that runs on white gas, but the tank failed to hold pressure. It's junk so I hucked it into a crevasse. The token Vermonter climbed in and got it. Something about them Vermonsters and trying to recycle shit. The hunk of shit stove is back in the hut and is still unreliable. There is plenty of white gas that lives in the hut. There were 6 gallons when we arrived. Open the upstairs window when you cook. We went through about 2 gallons in 9 days (6 dirt bags). There is also an eating area with 3 benches (seats 6) and a cafeteria style table.

Other: There is a crank radio/siren that comes in real useful for listening to Rush Limbaugh and summoning the "Glacier Police." It also has 2 flashing red LEDs. There is a tool box and duct tape. The inside of the hut has nails strategically placed for hanging and drying gear. There is a Trivial Pursuit, Freedom of the Hills (Volume 4), and climbing magazines from the 70's.

Deck: There is a small deck with a rail that can fit 3 asses. The deck catches the late afternoon sun (late March/early April). There are also some nails above the deck on the hut to hang gloves, liners, etc. A shovel lives on one of these nails. Leave the shovel outside when you fly out so the next party can dig out the door if necessary.

Rest Room: Three sided, tin roof, facing the Matanuska Glacier. Perfect for whipping ice chunks at while someone is squatting uncomfortably in this Slumdog Shanty. There are some "WAG" bags in the hut, but bring your own. Or triple line a 5 gallon bucket and fill 'er up. You are expected to take your droppings back to civilization. We brought a 5 gallon "Fresh Step" kitty litter bucket. Upon returning to society (were you lonely without me?), I took the bucket of shit to the grocery store, found the kitty litter aisle, placed it with the other 5 gallon buckets of "Fresh Step", and walked away. The shanty is for pooping only. There is a urinal (coed) up on Urine Ridge. Actually, there is no urinal, its just a moraine. To get there, walk out the hut, take an immediate left, hike about 30 feet to the top of the moraine, write your name.

Water: We melted snow using the largest pot provided. Snow was gathered from the side of the hut opposite Urine Ridge.

Missing: The Alaska Climbing Guide says there is an unofficial climbing guide that lives in the hut describing the surrounding peaks. It is MIA. If anyone has it or has a copy of it, pdf that shit and email me a copy. (or contact It is a valuable resource that some pickle sniffer heisted.

Summary: Bring your own stove the runs on white gas, be prepared to take your poop out, bring an appropriate sleeping bag, the guide book has been stolen, pee on the left, get snow on the right.

- U.K.