Monday, March 15, 2010

Mid March Update

The snow has been great up here. The days are long and we've had quite a stretch of bluebird powder days. We're even starting to develop a slight sun crust on South facing slopes. Friday I had a short day of work and headed South to Turnagain along with the rest of Anchorage. I went up the standard Sunburst route and found a nice 1,400' line.

There were quite a few folks out, so I decided to go deeper. I put my back to the road and started skinning towards Taylor Pass and on to Superbowl Peak. My geography was a bit off and I found myself on Goldpan Peak. After a short trascent/down climb, the alpenglow was in full effect and Superbowl was laid out below my tips

Sussing the Big Chief in the Turnagain Area

Bass had skied 12,000' vert on Friday and Tom was working on his rig, so Saturday would be my 4th solo tour in 4 days. Vista Peak has been a shot that I had been saving for a day like this. Big approach and highly visible from the highway. I drove to Eagle River and headed up Eagle River Road and turned left onto Mile-Hi Drive. After about a half dozen switchbacks, I parked and threw on the skins. My cankle howled in protest. I gained Mile-Hi pass and dropped into the next drainage and on to a trail put in by some Nordic skiers. Maybe the approach won't be too bad. Wrong, turns out team Nordic wasn't very motivated. I finially gained the ridge got up high enough to scope out the line.

Vista Peak
I dug a pit and it was garbage: CT 0, 4, and 11. Probably shouldn't be soloing it anyway. I found some mellow NW aspects and lapped it up before heading North for the game night in Wasilla. Despite my rampart cheating, I got crushed at Uno. The beer helped me through the devistating losses.
The next morning, Tom and I headed to Government Peak in the Talkeetna Mountains. We parked at the Marmot Trailhead, crossed the street, bridged the creak, and sent the ridge. The sun was in and out all day. During a sucker-hole, we decided for a quick diversion in the sun.

The Diversion
The ridge got a bit more challenging but we summitted quickly.

We decided to ski down a different drainage from the ascent to maximize vertical. The top was variable but eventually gave way to miles of shin deep powder. Ain't too proud for the low angle love.

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