Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Hatcher nap followed by sun up high.

     So I headed to Hatcher to play at night with my new stove that supports winter conditions.  I headed up from the Mint TH to a possible low-angle ski run and parked it in the valley.  I was fortunate to get an early start and had camp set up by around 3pm.  I took Lucy with.  The primary objective was camping with skiing being a bonus.  I headed up, but it was too deep for Lucy on a fresh skin track and visibility was poor with the heavy snowfall so I turned it shortly after, not willing to gamble in unfamiliar terrain.  Nope.  No skiing.
     After a quick dinner I found myself falling asleep so I hopped in my bag and went to bed early thinking I would sleep until morning like last time (~15hrs), wake up and ski with better lighting, it was already getting dark and snowing pretty good.  Nope.  I woke up wide awake at 9:30PM, my body thinking I had just napped and would be up working a night shift.  The snow had stopped but clouds had not cleared enough for the full moon to light up the night. 
     I wasn't up for trying to sleep for another 12hrs, no skiing to be had in darkness, I packed up and skied it out which was the most pleasant ski-out yet:  a warm gentle breeze, downhill all the way, a fresh dusting, a pink city-lit sky and the only sound was the swish of me travelling on the snow.

     I had to get out and ski since I didn't last night.  I headed up early to Arctic Valley with the pleasant surprise of untracked road and sun up high.  I honestly chuckled as I was basking in it and looking down at socked-in Anchorage.  Conditions were still thin with tundra and rock poking through, or where it was deep enough it was dust-on-windboard.  Tally another core shot for me.  Never the less I skied a few good laps and called it a day after bonking from lack of food and water.  I might return tomorrow before work.
 



     I was at the peak of Gordon Lyon before the wind picked up and skiing solo I thought I had picked a safe run.  Nope. Four turns in things went soft below me.  I saw a white-lightning crack split out to my left and I put it all together. I tried to stop, that didn't work, I fell back and was riding the mass like I fell out of a white-water raft.  I knew I was screwed and it was all on me.  I could feel the bed and tried to dig in but the flow was too strong and was pushing me down and deeper.  I knew I had to get out or get buried at the gully bottom.   I saw I was somewhat close to the edge and could sort of steer with the flow so I tried, and successfully rode the back-seat of my skis out to the edge.  I watched the avalanche complete itself and sat in silence for a few minutes thinking about how close I just came.  Lucy was lagging on the ridge so she wasn't in it.  Just before I had turned back up a few notches higher for whatever reason and glad I did as it was more of a terrain trap. 


 
 

Sun and wind rid the sky of clouds and fog. 
 
 
The end result: sun up high and clouds down low.

A raindbow, in JANUARY!



 

 


 

3 comments:

  1. What is the last picture with the orange lines all about?

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  2. My guess is it's his the route he took from his GPS super-imposed over the photo...something like that!

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  3. The orange lines notate the crown, stuanchwall and sides of the avalanche path. Along with sympathetic releases below the initial slide.

    Super close call with a nasty result at the bottom. Yikes

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