Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2: McVeigh Creek

McVeigh Creek is a tiny drainage between Arctic Valley and Hiland Road. The Nike site and Gordon Lyon form the upper ridge line of McVeigh.

From the Arctic Valley trailhead, it is a short walk to the former nuclear weapons cache. There are several North Face gullies in this area. From the NW corner of the barbed wire enclosure, I dropped into "Nike #1". The snow was decent for this time of year, albeit a bit slow. My tracks from Tuesday helped with the flat light conditions.

Nike #1

From the bottom I traversed hikers' right to the mid-section of "Nike #2." The booter got progressively steeper eventually maxing out at 52°. The top was thin but quickly transformed into a 400' quarter pipe. Air in. Air out. Repeat.

Nike #2

I worked the run hard. The shores of the tundra closed in. Noodle city, but I refused to surrender. Recently exposed obstacles were becoming more common: willows, rocks, narrow water cuts, 55 gallon drums. The game was getting less and less safe but more and more fun. The snow did end, but I still had some heat, and was able to tundra surf the Big Daddy's about 25' before throwing them on my back.

Clear Skies for the Hike Out
(no artsy black and white necessary)

I tried out the tele-tubby set-up for the first time this year. The results were less than desirable. If you have a strong stomach, give it a shot: Nike #2 (skip to 1:15 for the tundra obstacle course skiing)

- U.K.

2010-2011 Snowfall in Cascadia

2010-2011 has been deep, real deep. Big snow from Mammoth up to Canada and pushing into Utah. There is an interesting thread on TAY with a bunch of snowfall totals and records as of June 1. Most interesting though is the fact the snow isn't melting! No surprise to anyone in the Pacific SE. Check it:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Valdez Summit to Sound Challenge: May 29

Saturday: beautiful. Sunday: socked in. Monday: Bluebird. So obviously race day was Sunday. This is the first year of the Summit to Sound Challenge. There are 4 legs:
  1. Rando race at Thompson Pass (Little Odyssey) or nordic race at the pass
  2. Road bike 28 miles from the pass to the ocean
  3. Kayak 3 miles across Valdez Narrows into town
  4. 5K run through town
At race time the fog was thick at the pass. After a one hour delay, the rando portion was cancelled. It would be a triathlon for the teams (or individuals) that had registered in this division. The nordic portion would still take place. This was bull shit; I had come to race and I was going to race. It was billed as an adventure race, and what better way to have an adventure, then to engage in an activity without the proper training or equipment. Four stubborn / dim alpinists defected into the nordic division. Again my Valdez alpine dreams were transformed into a nordic junk show.

Not Ideal Equipment for a 3K Skate

Nordic skiers were released in groups of four and I quickly saw the folly in my critical thinking path, but I finished strong. The Team Head Mistress / flair coordinator was up. Celina hopped on a borrowed bike and disappeared into the fog. The course descends 2,500' feet in about 18 miles. The next 10 are flat. The Head Mistress had a few tricks in her back pocket. She had made friends on the course and formed a team of 3 to improve efficiency.
Wet Roads and Flat Light

The hand off at the put-in went flawlessly. Dean hopped into his borrowed equipment and set off into a cold grey Pacific.

Dean arrived on the Coast Guard beach and John was ready to go. He was our best hope, but he admitted his running shoes came from Wal-Mart. Despite this fact, he made excellent time, advancing the team several positions.

It was now time for the portion of the race our team was best equipped for: salmon fillets and beer. Our grit and skill really shown through and other teams were clearly intimidated. Despite our aggressive nature, new friends were everywhere. The hospitality of Valdez was evident.
A Sharp Looking Team

New friend, Kitty, put us up for the weekend stumbling distance from the finish line. The warm dry house was secondary to the trampoline in the back yard. The next day she brought us out to the local crag out by the airport where she promptly led a 5.9+ sport route.

"Look at me! I'm on the top rope!"

Even though this was the 1st Summit to Sea, it went off without a hitch. It is a testament to the hard work of the race organizers and volunteers. Our team finished 4th out of 9 in the Nordic division; pretty good considering 3 of us did not own the proper equipment for our chosen disciplines.

Check APRN for an alternative account.

-Drew Peacock