April 2, 2010

Chickaloon River and Canwell Glacier

It was sad to spend the first part of Spring break ill rather than climing ice and mixed up at Eklutna Glacier with Jon Cobb as I had planned. However, later on in the break Ryan Hokanson and I got together to try and get an adventure in. We started by heading to Chickaloon, and Ryan's cabin, and climbed a little on the Chickaloon River. This was also my first snowmachine-borne backcountry adventure.

Above: Ryan and the machines about 10 miles up the Chickaloon River just short of the narrows.

Above: Dune Creek Pillar and friends.

Above: Ryan enjoying some mixed near the Dune Creek Pillar.

Above: Gorgeous peaks on our way North through the Majestic Valley.

Following a night in Chickaloon, we then moved on North to Black Rapids to attempt a ski descent of Mt. Gakona in a day from the road. Here is a link to Ryan's post on our Canwell Glacier trip. We wanted to go ski Mt. Gakona in a day from the road, but were shut down by a gnarly icefall for Gakona, and bailed on our consolation prize due to unsafe avalanche conditions (top 10 cm release on pit preparation), on a large (enough) open slope. There was also a secondary weak layer presenting the possibility of additional propagation at about the 2 1/2 foot mark.

Above: Mount Shand and Moffit as seen from about 10 miles up the Canwell. This is where Ryan and I intend to head for our May-June Hayes Range expedition, getting psyched and fit and hoping for good weather!

Above: Ryan in the pit of despair. No turns for us. We did have a super fun day out though, and got to take a look at a lot of different terrain. It was a bit of a time warp to be 20 miles off the road with minimal effort, looking at a lot of good ski terrain, albeit without a ton of snow this year. Following this trip, Ryan headed off to Valdez to get a week plus of skiing amidst some large snowfall.