shoulder of death and some other lines

Jimmy crashed on my couch Saturday night, and Sunday the two of us got a very un dongshow like early start by leaving the house a couple hours before the sun was up.  Driving along the Seward highway there were bands of high clouds, and with it still being dark we struggled to wrap our heads around what the weather was going to do.  While at the Tesoro there was talk of abandoning our plans of skiing Peterson Creek and skiing something mellow in the pass.  Luckily we stuck to the plan, as the weather turned out to be perfect.  We were a little surprised to find two other cars already parked and departed when we arrived around nine, but it worked out as we didn’t have to cut trail.  A few minutes into the valley we came across two of the people ahead of us, it turned out they had just freed their dog from a conibear trap and were turning around, with the poor dog completely spooked after getting caught.  Luckily, I’d left both dogs at home and we continued on.

When we climbed out of the valley and were up on the glacier with views of everything it became difficult to decide what to ski, everything looked great, and Peterson Creek has tons of options.  Jimmy was in the mood for some high speed turns, so we headed up what I guess is calledd Lactic Acid and skied the glorious open south face (video above).  The snow was ripple textured by the wind, but still soft enough that skis cut through it like butter.  I couldn’t help but cheering as I cruised across the smooth as glass apron, after skiing in Hatcher all week it was nice to go fast and not even consider the possibility of snagging a rock.

alaska skiing

Deciding what to ski for our second run was equally difficult, but Jimmy led the way booting up a chute near the Shoulder of Death and was clearly motivated as he cut trail all the way to the top as I couldn’t catch up with him.  When I crawled over the cornice at the top Jimmy was nowhere to be seen, but after some shouting realized that while waiting for me he had picked out a line down the ridge which I couldn’t see.  So I dropped in first, back down the chute we’d just crawled up.  Again the skiing was fantastic, perfect snow and a beautiful run out that allowed for carrying speed and trying to race my sluff down, really fantastic skiing. Unfortunately I’d run out of batteries (this is sure to be remembered as trait of  this season when remembered a few years in the future) so there is no footage of the line.  From the bottom I looked around for Jimmy, and watched him absolutely kill the steep rib pictured above.  I didn’t really know what his intended route was, and was initially a bit concerned with all the sluff, but Jimmy skied it flawlessly, sticking to the rib till the very end and straight lining out a lower notch I hadn’t noticed.  An incredibly impressive run to top off an awesome day.

A little rib in Peterson Creek gets skiedI’m back in the office currently, hopefully some more skiing will be had soon, in the meantime enjoy this Rémy Lécluse first descent from the weekend in the Valais. Oh, and hilarious TGR footage of Peterson Creek can be found in Mind the Addiction, there is some Big League footage in their as well, I love how the whole that entire section is accessed in a leisurely afternoon on skins, typical of CPG I guess.  Oh, and dogs on the Metro is fantastic stuff.