Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tincan: May 31

Does Tincan really deserve a post? Really? It's the most skied line at Turnagain. Come off it!

Typically I would agree with that, but this was my 72nd day of backcountry of the season besting my previous high of 71. We've all put big numbers riding chairs, but never have I hiked so much in one season. Well, I'm sure you care more about the skiing than numbers.

Good Afternoon Skiers and Riders
This is your early June snow report for Turnagain Pass. Come on up and send it. It's full on! There is still snow down to the road at the Pass. Our recent strech strech of awesome weather has allowed the snow to cook down and is just about neve. Turnagain is still buried and the snow is fast and very white. And where the hell is everyone? The skiing right now crushes the thin, sketchy snowpack we had up until Turkey day. It's a ghost town up here, but why did all the miner 49er's leave all the goods behind? The lines are all filled in and the skiing and riding is excellent.

Snow Down to Road Level

Tincan Common

Despite the great conditions, I expect to be talking to imaginery birds and singing to myself again this weekend.
- Frank Machin

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Portage to Placer: May 29

Ever since returning from my sussing mission to the Mid-Atlantic region, the weather has been top notch. Rest beckons but the call of the bluebird is too enticing: Tweet! Boot this! Skin that!Tweet, tweet! Get up, sucker, tweet!

"Damn that bird to hell!"

Alright, alright, I'm getting out of bed. I hit the road early for quick schuss in Portage prior to Benderfest '010 down in the Homers. I skied "Portage 1" about 5 years ago and it involved a deep slow water creek. I was pleasently surprised that there is now a bridge over the water. The gully is mostly avi debris, so booting was a breeze. On top of the chute, you are at a triple point: Portage, Placer, and Turnagain. Nice.

Looking up "Portage 1" from that Confounded Bridge

Still Plenty of Snow on Skookum / Carpathian

From the Top of the Chute Looking SE

On previous trips to this spot conditions denied me from ascending the SE. Today was no different. Large glide cracks were overdue for their trip South. Down towards the Placer looks good. Ain't too proud for some low angle love. The snow wsa sublime: 2" of corn on supportable. The snow was fast and white, quite the contrast from Falls Creek the previous day. Nice rollers, some good tree skiing, and then back up to do it again.

Take another lap. Tweet, tweet! Again, again!

But then I heard another friend call out: the greybird

Tweet! Tweet! St. Elias Brew Pub!

"Well, hello, friend, that's a great idea."

Looking Back Towards the Placer Terrain from the Seward Highway

- George Freeth

- Drive South on the Seward from Anchorage
- Turn left on the road towards Whittier
- Look for the 1st Chute on the right
- Turn right down the gravel road just past the chute
- I parked at the gate to the RV camp
- The RV owner likes you to check in before you cross their land
- Stay along the right hand perimeter of the RV area and look for the road leading to the gully
- The road crosses the creek and puts you at the snow

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Falls Creek: May 28

DB had been singing the praises of Falls Creek all month. "It's cooler city!" I've been up there the last three weekends!" "I can't believe I've never skied this before!" And on and on. DB has a nose for these things so I decided to give it look.

Tom was in town unexpectedly but lacked ski gear. Well, being part of the Boyz means having more gear than you could ever possibly use. Boots, skins, skis, poles, beacons.... well we can skip the beacons.

Falls Creek is accessed via a small trailhead on the Turnagain Arm just North of Indian. It started steep and dusty and stayed steep and dusty. It wasn't looking good. After about 90 minutes we reached the 1st snow which conveniently happened to be at the bottom of a 2,000' chute. Well, I know this game: boot it, send it. Copy. Booting went quick; Tom seemed overly motivated. Let him go. Great white buffalo.

From the bottom

Looking South down the Seward Highway / Turnagain Arm

Life jackets are recommended for those with rag doll-itis

Addtional options higher in the drainage

The snow was good but getting a bit mushy. Wet surface snow collected and formed streams of "lava" carving out gullies as it trenched out the chute. It picked of some steam and crashed into the rocks in a tight left. Take nothing but pictures....

Tom negiotiating the not-so-cruxy crux
Falls Creek is yet another Anchorage gem discovered by ol' Prospector Dave. Many options, many teachers.
- Ratso Rizzo