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2011/2012

by: Tim Kelley

Oct - Dec Jan - Feb Mar - Apr May - Jun Summer

23 June 2012: A Visit To The New Snowbird Glacier Hut


I wanted to check out the new American Alpine Club hut at the Snowbird Glacier in the Talkeetna Mountains.  I had been to the old metal dome hut that was once there a number of times before, but never to this new replacement hut.  And if you want to check out something in Alaska ... what better way to do it than on skis.

Route to the Snowbird Glacier and hut. There was enough, but not a lot, of snow leading up to the pass. At Snowbird Pass, looking south. Skiing across the Snowbird Glacier.
A panoramic view of the Snowbird Glacier.  The pass you cross over is the notch in the left of this picture.
Approaching the hut on the moraine.  Bartholf Creek drainage in the distance. The Snowbird Glacier Hut. Nice view from inside the hut.  Check out the ski tracks out the middle left window.  Damn!  That guy can shred!  ;-)
The Snowbird Glacier is home to this striking nunatak. Heading back down. The valley below snow-line.  Just a month earlier we were crust skiing in this valley. Marmot Pika
         
22 June 2012: Return to Seattle Ridge

Conditions for crust skiing Seattle Ridge from Turnagain Pass to Pyramid Peak and back were not good three weeks prior.  So I gave this trip another try when the snowpack firmed up, this time on waxless skis.  I had done this ski before in 2008 (route map)On a clear, early summer day this ridge offers a great ski trek.

"0" snow depth at start. The variety of terrain on this ridge makes for fun skiing. I passed by the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center Seattle Ridge weather station.  When I got home I looked on the web site for this weather site and could see my ski tracks in the archived hourly web cam images (see above).
360 degree panoramic view from the summit of Pyramid Peak.
Brown bear skid marks. Fresh wolverine tracks over my out-going ski tracks. Recent warm weather was allowing alders to "spring to life".  Occasionally you would hear snow being sprayed as alders sprung out of the snowpack that had them pinned down all winter. Could ski most all of the way down to the road on the way out.
 
02 June 2012: Seattle Ridge "End of Crust Season" Skiing

Saturday morning dawned clear so Benji, Cory and I headed to Turnagain Pass to try crust skiing on Seattle Ridge.  It was a beautiful day and we got a good workout, but the crust skiing was not very good.  It was okay on the valley floor but the snow was punchy on the climb up the ridge and on top.  Looks like we are entering the 'tween season.  It's not getting cold enough at night for crust skiing and the snow has not yet gone isothermal to make for good summer-snow skiing.  There's lots of snow on this ridge, so in a couple/three weeks it will likely be good for hiking up and skiing on waxless skis.

Skiing was good on the valley floor but punchy higher up. Snow depth at the road is getting lean. Unfortunately most of the skiing was not as good as this section on the ridge.
 
28 May 2012: Taylor Creek (Turnagain Pass)

I've never posted pictures on this web site of skiing at Taylor Creek in Turnagain Pass.  So here you go.  A short window of clear weather opened up, so I headed down to Taylor Creek and found some good crust skiing,  The run back down from Taylor Creek Pass is fun and allows you to get in a lot of turns.  Was able to start skiing 100 feet from the road.

Map of Taylor Creek. Taylor Creek Pass. At the pass. Looking down the valley. Good snow for turns.
I passed by this porcupine that was up in a tree.  His/her teeth were orange.  Isn't this the color that teeth turn for those that are addicted to meth?  Perhaps this porky once gnawed his way into a meth lab!?  ;-)
 
19 May 2012: Reed Lakes

Benji Uffenbeck let Cory Smith and me know that crust skiing was still good at Reed Lakes.  So Cory and I headed north the next morning.  Bottom line: Reed Lakes Valley should be on every crust skier's radar.  It's a spectacular Talkeetna Mountains location with great terrain for crust skiing.  Here are Cory's pictures.

Heading towards the base of the first climb (center of picture). The route. Lots of gradual climbing to get to the end of the valley.
Passing Reed Creek Falls.   Lynx Peak.   Great skiing on the way out.
The turnaround point - Upper Reed Lake.
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