I guess it was bound to happen. Shit, I’ve lasted longer than many of my peers. But, at some point in many athletes’ lives, real injury happens and the consequences have to be navigated. This is my injury story.
It's hard to complain about fresh powder in September so I won't. It's not uncommon for the first snows to come early in AK. The summer ends fast here and fall seems short. The remnants of a Japanese cyclone sent some wet weather our way and dumped some lovely snow up high. The weekend forecast cooperated so Karol and I went and sampled the loveliness. We were not disappointed.
The arrival of snow in the high mountains of South Central Alaska is eminent but Karol, Jen and I managed to tag one of the area’s classic ridge traverses recently, sneaking a good one in before snow closes the door on running up high. Girdwood to Indian via the high ridgeline that looms above the Seward Highway spanning between California Creek to the South and Penguin Peak to the North is one of the best outings found here. Roman Dial, no stranger to Alaskan adventure, calls it THE best ridge traverse he’s done. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But it’s been on our lists for a while and we were psyched to have a look.
As promised, the weather cleared for my final day in Las Leñas. Unfortunately, the epic wind returned, as well, which might be fitting for my first round there. It started out “breezy” although Marté was not open first thing. I think the guys knew what was coming. Because, by the afternoon, things were getting Biblical up high. All this didn’t stop me from getting my share, of course and I demonstrated significant resolve on my second lap. More on that later.
One more day in Las Leñas. For a trip that started out with much to be desired, it’s ending with just what I came for. My only regret is that I didn’t have a partner to ski all these amazing lines with. It was strange dropping into one 2,000’ 45˚ couloir after another completely alone. Sure, there were tracks but I hardly saw anyone on the ten or so runs I took from the top of the mountain down the imposing south face. As a result, the pictures to follow leave something to be desired but they give you the general idea.