I'm a virgin trip reporter but this journey was pretty sweet. After a week in AK with a group of 8 badass women up on Thompson Pass, we got a tip to check out this zone called the Promised Land. It's (during this time period) a non-motorized zone where you're free from sled and heli traffic. After a 2 and 1/2 hour skin in we were welcomed into the cirque, which was like a Pandora's Box of lines on either side. Unfortunately the left side got a little baked after 5 days of sun but the right was pretty well protected and looked good to go.
The skin in. Photo: Liz Cunningham
Photo: Liz Cunningham
Photo: Liz Cunningham
We started with a group of ten and decided to split up onto different objectives. I ended up hopping in a group with Sydney, Hazel, and Eric to ski a line in between two fins where we would have fresh tracks. The ascent was pretty straight forward, except for an icy section in the middle where I had to anchor to the slope and throw on crampons for purchase. Sometimes I wish I had hard boots. After a pretty vertical boot up, we reached the saddle and took in the view. Pretty amazing.
Snack time in the saddle.
Other side of the valley.
We boot packed up another couple hundred feet over a small ridge to find the line. Hazel dropped first, ski cutting a little bit of wind slab on the top. The first few turns were slabby and sticky, but shortly after the line opened up into steep, light, powder. The rest of us dropped next one by one, opening it up on the face and hooting and hollering on the way down. I wish I had more pictures of the descent, but it was pretty fast and fun. Plus we got it done with an amazing crew.
Ascent in blue, descent in orange.
View of the line clean.
View from the bottom.
Stoke level: high. Photo by: Liz Cunningham
Overall, a really amazing way to finish up our time near Valdez. Big shout out to SheJumps.org for bringing this crew together.
Thanks! Yeah we escaped from the TGAK thing. It's fun but kind of a mess. I think next I'd like to go up and hit a few places, spending a couple weeks...Valdez before the crowds, Turnagin, Hatcher Pass, Whittier, Haines, the list goes on... but Alaska is incredible.