Forums TR Archive Alaska Middle Glacier, Portage in early June
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  • #787471
    D-GREEN
    336 Posts

    6-3-68 is the day I was brought in to this world in this life. 6-3-09 is the day I thought I’d try the “Portage Trifecta”. Before getting the “Trifecta” started, which I’ll explain in a bit, I thought I’d visit the bar for a night cap. You know, it’s midnight and therefore my birthday. BAD IDEA!!! When I woke up in the morning for our 9am start I was still drunk. Quite drunk. The 9am start soon became 11am. The local bartender left me this friendly message on my phone: “Happy birthday?!!
    stop puking in my bar!!!” Which explains this terrible taste/smell lingering in my nose.
    Anyhow, the “trifecta” finally started rolling at 11. The plan was to drive to Portage lake area, dropping off some bikes on the way in. Hike and ride 4440′ on the Middle Glacier. Trade out snow gear for canoes and float Portage river back to our bikes at the highway. Swap the canoes for bikes and ride back to our vehicles and have a nice BarBQ. Well, 2 hours late already and we notice that one of our party members has forgotten his skis. His Skis!!! Quick run back to his house and we’re getting a good “crack of noon” start to the day.

    So here we go. But first I must apologize for the quality of these photos, my camera kinda sucks (it seems to hate snow) and I was drunk remember… If I could get a new camera, and a professional photographer to come along that would be great!

    Hiking in some of my favorite stuff in the world

    Devils Club! a closer look

    Out of the club and onto the snow

    then onto the ridge and rock

    still climbing!!

    All this fresh air and beauty surrounding me and all I can taste, smell, and think about is puke. F**k!

    4 hours later and this is our reward, the view

    Sorry, my photos of our run didn’t come out at all 🙁
    back at the bottom

    I believe I started to sober up by this point, the hangover was kicking in. Good thing phase 2 of the “trifecta” entailed nothing but lazily floating down a river, and drinking!

    looking back at our run from the river, lookers right of the cornice

    more floating

    then on to biking/phase 3

    and finally Bar B Qing some fish!

    To the end of a great day!!!

    Only in AK!!! I love this place

    #787472
    D-GREEN
    336 Posts

    Whoops, my apologies for that embelishment, it was 3440′ not 4440′. Still a lot of uninterupted vert (especially if you’re drunk). I actually quit sweating after the first hour I was so dehydrated!

    Back to the skier minus skis and time delima… So the general rule of thumb for spring/summer skiing is to turn around when the slush gets ankle deep, that’s why you want a early start. Well, it was knee deep rotten snow up towards the top. We even saw some of our line naturally sluffing on our way up.
    At the top, skier #2 and I were talking about sluff management and wet slides and stuff like that. We knew it was going to sluff/slide obvioulsly, but we thought it would be a nice slow wet slide…no big deal. Just keep your turns to a slant, skiing to one side or another and not just straight down the fall line. Stay out of the way of the sluff and don’t get “Chugached”!
    So then they said “Well, it’s your birthday. You get to go first.” I respectfully denied this option for I’d like to see another birthday or more. We made skier #1, the guy that forgot his skis, go first. He’s young and du… He dropped straight in, freakin’ fall line! His sluff was huge and FAST! Freakin flyin! Skier #2 and I were sh*tting ourselves watching this. Then skier 1 cuts left, hard, seconds before the freight train of river water type sluff goes screaming by. Holy Sh*t! Actually, I believe this is what sobered me up. The sluff shoots like 7 feet out going over rock bands down into a bowl, past/through the bowl and down a, I dunno, 500′ waterfall to the next bit of flats below where it finally comes to a rest. It sounded like thunder and looked like class 5 whitewater. It was SICK!
    Now it was my turn. Maybe this is why I didn’t get any photos, I was busy sh*tting myself. Needless to say, I took a VERY conservative line. Making a couple of turns, stopping, watching the sluff, making a couple more turns… Traversing under a monster cornice and over 3′ wide x 2′ deep runnels with small, slow, sluffs running through them. And finally coming to a rest on the other side of the cornice which flushes into the waterfall. Shaking. The rest of the ride was normal suncupped corn and uneventful except for my shaking burning frazzled legs and mind. Thank God we made it down, unscathed, to our trucks loaded with much needed beer! On to the nice peaceful float over calm cool soothing class 1 water. Phwew!

    Thanks for reading. Peace! :mrgreen:

    #787473
    D-GREEN
    336 Posts

    Beating a dead horse here, but here are a few more photos of Middle Glacier from jdoneils perspective with a surprise/eyeopener ending.

    Bootpacking in

    starting up the canyon

    whoops, I mean coming down the canyon

    mid-way up

    a first look at our goal

    a look back at Portage Valley

    a little perspective of the run, it’s not too steep

    an action shot (?) from down low

    a final look back at the mountain as a whole

    And then the eye-opener… This is a photo of the main face where we dropped in 2 days after the fact

    …Holy S**t! That made me kinda sick to my stomach, again. Alright, I’m done with my soap. I just thought I needed to put a crown on things.

    Lucky

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