Tuesday, April 19, 2011

04/18/11 "Double Glacier" - Crust Skiing to Skookum and Spencer Glaciers


Last Thursday's weather was less than optimal for fun crust skiing. Monday was very different. I really wanted to see the Skookum Glacier. To add some more miles, I decided to check out the Spencer Glacier once again. A day of sun & glide!

I started at Alder Pond again at 7:45 (for directions see the last post). More openings were showing up in the ice. Same slog through alders, wetlands, and the creek crossing. With the low snowpack this year, any area with brush poking through wasn't very supportable. By 11:30 it was almost unskiable; it was especially bad in the trees/brush near Spoencer Lake. Away from brush & out in the open, the crust held up until 2:45. My route was 29.5 miles without much elevation gain. I got back to a mushy Alder Pond at 4:15. The glaciers have receded quite a bit since the map was produced; I didn't actually ski up the glaciers. Unroped this could be quite dangerous.


 Skookum & Placer Valleys from the Seward Highway.

 Lots of these popping up in Alder Pond...ice is getting thin. Pretty sketchy in the afternoon.

 Hiking during the Portage sunrise.

 The water in the creek was shallowest on the failed beaver dam, but it was still higher than my overboots. Got a little damp.

 Yup there's still crust to ski!

 Effortless cruising up Skookum Valley.

 Carpathian & Skookum

 Skookum Glacier. I couldn't miss it this time!




Fun rolling terrain in Skookum Valley.

Skookum Glacier

 V2 in paradise.

 Heading up Placer Valley.

 I think I'm on the Spencer Glacier Trail.

The skiing was so epic my binding gave up near Spencer Glacier Lake. It was functional, but cracked in a couple places. I'm glad it stayed together because I was 10 miles from my car.

 Spencer Glacier Lake


 Tincan Mountain (not the popular bc skiing destination). It can be accessed from Center Creek Pass, and needs a visit from my splitboard.

 Center Creek Pass, Tincan Mountain & Placer River



 Spencer Whistle Stop


 AT&T fiber-optic cable following the AK Railroad.

Passing by Skookum Valley.

 Crust-skiers gettin' some!

 Back to overboot terrain.


You know it's a good day when your exhausted at the end. We'll see if the crust holds up next weekend. Middle Fork/South Fork Loop? Turnagain Pass? I guess I'll need to buy some new bindings first.

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