I was an alpinist long before I was a ski mountaineer. And, although I love skinning uphill, booting up steep couloirs still has an honored place in my heart. In the right conditions, booting is more efficient. There’s nothing I hate more than zigzagging up a narrow chute on skis doing kick turn after kick turn. On the other hand, conditions can dictate a skis-only approach rather than sink crotch deep and “trench” upwards.
Uncharacteristically, it seems Alaska is not the first place in the States to see it's citizens celebrating the return of our favorite season. I've seen pictures of Jackson Hole recently blessed with plenty of powdered joy in the high country and at least some folks out sliding around on it on skis. Good for them. Last year saw first turns made up here at the end of September. We were close again this season.
Plan, prepare, execute. That was my approach to last week’s Alyeska Climbathon. It went ridiculously to plan and almost went even better than I could’ve hoped…almost.
I apologize for taking so long getting this out. I was pretty crushed after the event, utterly drained and I even caught a nasty cold for my effort. Sucked heavily. With empty legs and a stuffy head I wasn't in mood to write anything. Onward.
The Alyeska Climbathon is tomorrow and I’ve a score to settle. Last year I ran and trudged my way to 11 laps, which earned me second place. I did about 23,000 vertical of climbing in 9 hours and 10 minutes. I had 10 hours to race but it looked unlikely for me to finish another lap so the organizer called it for me.
After enjoying one of the sunniest and warmest early summers in 35 years, south central Alaska has returned to its usual rainy summer self. In fact, August was one of the wettest in history. Awesome. So, I thought I’d put up a quick post from better days when the sun was high and temps warm. This was a great day on a big Chugach summit.