Splitboard.com Forums

The World's first exclusive splitboard discussion forums






It is currently Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:39 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:44 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Winter in AZ was a bust. 1st winter in 9 that I got no backcountry days on the San Francisco Peaks. Sure, there a couple afternoons spent lapping 600’ on cinder cone hills, on very sheltered slopes holding the only real snow from a storm in early December.
Shit was bleak.

Image

Image

Image

Plans were hatched. We’d talked about renting an RV and parking it somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula. Taylor had done it before. He knows his way around, and has a friend in Anchorage.

Airline tickets were purchased.
The RV was reserved.
Hours were spent in the gym getting fit for a long trip.

The nonstop flight from Phoenix to Anchorage is long.
Long.
We got in past midnight and slept at Taylor’s friend’s house. There was much to do in the morning.
We rose early to pick up the RV. We finally drove away after what seemed like an endless interrogation, and repeated warnings, “Don’t use the water system. And don’t use the shitter.” The week’s menu was planned in an hour over plates of eggs and greasy reindeer sausage and copious coffee.

Avy airbag canisters were filled at the dive shop.
Next stop, Safeway.

After two hours of cris-crossing the grocery store and $420 later, we were almost done.
Seven cases of Sierra Nevada Pale oughta do it, right? Better throw in a bottle of Bulleit bourbon. And 20 gallons of water jugs.

Seward Highway. I’m more accustomed to southwest deserts than AK mountains. I mean holy shit, Glaciers. Avalanche debris next to the highway. Turnagain Arm was a raging whitewater river with the tide going out. The Chugach rise straight up from sea level. The only other vertiginous mountains that I’ve seen that might compare would be the San Juans, and the eastside of the Sierra.

Image

Image

Soon we arrived to our destination. It was like 7:00 in the evening. Where had the day gone? We both were fairly weary. Whatever,”lets go get an evening run on Magnum.”

Image

Image

We finished at 8:30 in near darkness. Celebratory beers were popped, cheers were had. There was still work to do.
The RV needed to be moved to a flatter lot, the Center Ridge parking area. And, this lot has vault toilets so the RV guy wouldn’t be angry.
Dinner was ravenously eaten. Gear was unpacked. Again, sleep came around 1:00am.

Most of the good pictures here were shot by Taylor.

Image

The rest of the grainy pics were shot by me on my crappy point and shoot.

Image

We awoke to find the view from the front porch wasn’t too bad.

Image

Turnagain Pass is rad. Touring starts right from the road. Go wherever you want.
Image

And the area is kinda unique. Non-motorized on one side of the highway, with arguably better and more terrain without sno-mo’s.

Image

We had unbeatable weather for seven straight days. Perfect high pressure. Zero wind. The snow had degraded slowly after dumping seven feet in February and March. Pow runs would be hard to find, and classic steep Alaskan spines and couloirs were unlikely. Post storm avy crowns and debris were everywhere.

The first day’s tour would be back the Lyons Creek drainage.

Image

The skin track was slick as fuck for the first mile or so. The alders were a jungle in this low snow winter.
Then things improved.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The heat was taking it out of us. We “settled” for a lower peak in the middle of a large basin with unbelievable views. A decent avalanche from a fallen cornice had happened during the approach. Lunch and high fives were had.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The next couple of days were spent leisurely touring up glacial valleys. We were figuring out that good snow was on a pretty narrow aspect, above a certain elevation. West to slightly northwest above 1800’ was the money zone. Anything with a southerly aspect was not-quite-mature corn, thin corn and scratchy. Northerly aspects were cold and hard. There probably wasn’t going to be any steep classic Alaskan lines.

Image

Image

Image

Image

And by leisurely, I mean like, cold ones, good conversation, lunch, a nap in the sun… it was just that kind of trip. The snow was decent, but not worth killing ourselves for. But fun turns were had.

Image

Taylor striking a pose on Taylor Pass. Behind is Pastoral Peak. It looked good. But folks weren’t skiing the obvious descent off the summit. It’s mostly north-ish facing and presumably wind blown and rock hard. It had obviously been skied, like every other high steep peak in the area, but my guess is a week or more earlier. Everyone we saw who went back there went and tagged that low saddle to the left of the peak, and glacier cruised back.

Image


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

And then one evening this guy cruised through the front porch. Skijoring. Huh. We saw his rig parked in the lot about 100 feet away. So we tossed him a beer, and he talked for a while. He came back later with vodka. Something about being allergic to most kinds of alcohol. He regaled us in Chugach tales of divorce, failing business, tourons at Alyeska. Bourbon was drank, the night went late again, and he went home to his dogs visibly drunk on vodka. An entertaining night to say the least.

Image

Evenings were spent on the back porch soaking in the evening sun, watching the sun set over the next ridge and the alpenglow behind us, drying soggy things out, beer cans piling up at our feet.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

For the past few days we’d been staring northeast at a decent looking peak with a bunch of old avy crowns on it. Tin Can. We had to go check it out. There were probably better decisions to be made.

Wait, what ski area is this?

Image

But great views of the drainage we were in a few days earlier were the reward.

Image

Image

Image

And we got a view of where we would go the next day.

Image

Some ok turns were spooned between old tracks.

Image

Image

Image

The interwebz had been telling us the weather was going to change on our final full day. Mid day went gray bird.

Image

Image

This northwest bowl held the best snow we had seen the entire trip. Albeit with a lot of tracks. So we booted up the ridge to get higher. Views opened up.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Anchorage Jim and Rico.

Image

The light got pretty magical, and the leisurely skin back I didn’t really want to end.

Image

We knew we had a few hours on the final morning to go get a run. The west face on Sunburst looked good, and the lower slopes we knew had decent snow. So two of us set out in flurries on the familiar skin track.

Image

The ridge was wind hammered as expected. The last turns of the trip were made.

Image



Post Script:
I know some of you have seen Taylor’s old reports, and have asked questions.
Just go. It’s so damn easy. Get a few of your buddies together. Find an RV on the internet. Ours was a ’99 and was decent (even if we couldn’t take a dump in it or use the water) and was pretty cheap split three ways. Book your flights early for a good price. I think I was into this trip for a grand; one of the best and cheapest trips I’ve ever done.

_________________
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go where there is no path... and leave a trail." --Today's fortune cookie.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:42 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:44 pm
Posts: 712
Location: The Magic City
Thanks for the stoke!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:20 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 8:51 am
Posts: 650
Nice work guys. Always wanted to do the RV thing in AK. I've been to Valdez and Aleyeska on Heli's but need to get some touring in.

What dates were you there? April? May?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:17 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:16 am
Posts: 546
Location: Salida, Flagstaff
@Rico: Thanks for the proper write-up and a great trip; I look forward to many more adventures.

@Shredgnar: 15 Mar - 15 Apr is a good window. Long days, snowpack at its maximum, usually still cold enough for good snow at lower elev. (1000-4000'). But it's a crap shoot because airplane and RV reservations lock your dates in. Storms, snow hazard and low vis can really put a damper on things. Longer trips mitigate the odds of getting caught in a cycle for your entire trip.

Here's Rico:

Image

Image

_________________
Craig Kelly is my co-pilot
195 Glissade Big Gun
187 Donek Custom Split
181 Venture Storm Solid and Split
173 Rossi Race DIY Swallowtail Split


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:32 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
Posts: 1205
Location: Denver
Sweet stoke boyoz! Looks like a great trip.

_________________
Phantom Bindings
Furberg Split 167
Furberg Freeride Split 164


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:43 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:42 am
Posts: 319
Location: Girdwood, AK!!!
Ah haha… Did Jim the "skijoring guy" just talk for a while, or forever? And did a Subaru mysteriously start up and then later shut off on its own near your home? Just wondering. Nice trip report of a, uh, not so nice of a season. I like the more out of the box approach of staying at Turnagain as opposed to Thompson Pass.

_________________
If you had a moderate chance of being shot in a bar, would you go in?
-Tom Kimbrough, former Utah forcaster


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:27 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:44 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
shredgnar wrote:
What dates were you there? April? May?

We were there 3/28 to 4/5. The cool thing is, at that time of the year, you gain about seven minutes of sunlight per day. 45 minutes in a week!

D-GREEN wrote:
Ah haha… Did Jim the "skijoring guy" just talk for a while, or forever? And did a Subaru mysteriously start up and then later shut off on its own near your home? Just wondering. Nice trip report of a, uh, not so nice of a season. I like the more out of the box approach of staying at Turnagain as opposed to Thompson Pass.

HA HA, YES! The skijoring guy talked for a long time. The three of us were nodding off, quite inebriated ourselves, Jim seemed like he was just getting started. Nice enough guy though, seemed like he just needed someone to talk to.
And I guess that was your car? I thought "Damn, that's pretty smart to have a remote start to get your car toasty warm before you even get back to it."
We had talked about going to Thompson. And Hatcher. We voted against the long drive to Thompson, and concluded snow conditions would be about the same at Hatcher.
Turnagain is rad. I couldn't believe more peeps weren't out there doing the same thing.

_________________
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go where there is no path... and leave a trail." --Today's fortune cookie.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:57 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:08 am
Posts: 134
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Nice, wasn't the best season in AK - very low tide - I was out in the tordrillos in early march and there was a lot of "loud pow" and chocolate chip. Looks like you guys made the best of it.

The mid-march storm topped things up which would've made it a little better.

I'm yet to tour around turnagain, its a very pretty area and on my to-do list.


Great stuff!


:thatrocks: :headbang:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:12 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:55 am
Posts: 1021
Location: Wasatch
awesome Rico! looks like a super relaxing trip. Way to make the most out of a bad winter.

_________________
"it's like having fun, only different..."
http://www.facebook.com/danzgatesphoto


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:47 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:29 pm
Posts: 314
Location: Tacoma,WA
Thanks for the stoke.

I'm going up there this year and weighing the options, so I'm loving the beta and photos.

You could have had better snow, but you coulda also been hosed with nothing but storms, and no vis...

_________________
Saign
------
www.saignc.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:17 pm
Posts: 311
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Nice!!!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:09 pm
Posts: 12
Oh man, this just made me drool so bad. :drool:
I love the photos of Outsiders in our home stomping grounds. (No offense, outsider is a term.) Gives a perspective.
I did the rv at Hatchers in March, and except for serious white outs where we would fall over standing still and the threat of an unstable snowpack (read: damalanche) we had a similar time. At least I got over there though.

Is there, or can someone with cred on this site make an "Alaska conditions thread "like the one that used to be on telemark tips? That was single handed lay the best snow pron site ever.

Splitboarders deserve the best.

_________________
I'd rather be chasing unicorns!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Roadside Alaska: It's like a hut trip on wheels.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:28 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:42 am
Posts: 319
Location: Girdwood, AK!!!
Not to commandeer your thread and/or one up anyone, but I hope you don't mind my adding a little here. That was my subi parked next to your home on March 31st. jdoneill and I also hiked up Lyons Creek drainage that day…

Image

…following, literally, snowsavage's bootpack up this behemoth

Image
Kickstep Mtn, boot and skin up in blue, survival turns down in red

This VERY SHORT video gives you an idea of snow quality and the size of the run (skier unknown)



Here's jdoneill one the ridge near the top

Image

and dropping…
that's him under my foot
Image
just left of the rock outcrop
Image
and the dot just above the shadow in the center of the photo
Image

celebratory beers back on bottom and alive!
Image

Then came the "super fun" flatish ride home on hardpack snow in alders on soar legs and burnt lungs in near darkness where I crashed and burned, and unbeknownst to me, accidentally started my car with a super touchy autostart button. Hence, the ghost driven Subaru.

Thanks again for your Turnagain TR, and give us shout next time you're in state! :thatrocks:

_________________
If you had a moderate chance of being shot in a bar, would you go in?
-Tom Kimbrough, former Utah forcaster


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot] and 8 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  





Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group