Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May in AK: Pastoral Peak and the Grandaddy Couloir

Well its been an awesome run of high pressure to welcome the month of May.  So good, that I had to bag work the first two days of this week and go skiing.  I didn't have much going on, so local photographer Matt Hage and I had plans to ski Mount Alpenglow after returning from Girdwood on Sunday.

Conversation in the car:
#2: "Hey what are you doing tomorrow?"
#1: "Nothing....why?"
#2: "Lets ski that [pointing to the large north face of Alpenglow]"

This run taunts every backcountry skier on their way to TPass.

But mother nature and the Six Mile Creek had their vote.  We got turned back here:
We brought hip waders and sunscreen.  But we forgot the packrafts.

So we headed to Turnagain as the backup plan, and toured up Taylor Creek in hopes of skiing Pastoral Peak....a run i've been wanting to ski for a long time now.

Matt making his way up Taylor Creek.

We got to the pass, and these were the sights.
I left #1 at the pass with some boot issues, and I pressed forward.  I made it up to summit in just over an hour to find powder preservation.
While on the summit taking in the views, I noticed this obvious couloir on the adjacent ridge - the Grandaddy Couloir.
Conditions, weather, and snow stability were so good that I had to go after it again today!

I got an early start, and was climbing by 0930.  I toured up Bertha Creek and made the pilgrimage in about 3 hours, taking my time.  I ran into a guy yesterday who was going to ski a line essentially on the northern side of Pastoral that drops further into Lyon Creek.  Here they are on the top.  They had plans to continue on and ski the Grandaddy...good on them.
The view from the top was terrific.  Carpathian is the obvious peak in the center.
Looking down the Lipps ridge.  The cooler is below.
The B-I-G P-O-P-P-A on the approach.
This way back home.
The entrance to this chute was hairy.  There was a massive cornice, and I didn't feel like dropping it with me on top.  Mandatory air was not in my vocab for the day.  I skirted around the skiers right and entered from the side.  It was boot-top powder goodness!  It got a little punchy and scrapy down low, but it was powdery the entire run.

All in a days work.
Another look, riding the sepia bandwagon.
And the parting shot...
My legs are smoked, blisters on my feet, i'm sunburned and dehydrated.  And now I have to go back to work.  Here's the trip route:
Note: no Yellow Labradors were harmed in the aforementioned powder pursuit.

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Blogger Marc_Hoffmeister said...

You cause that slide?
PR vid on YT

May 5, 2010 at 5:27 AM  
Blogger Matt J said...

Nope, it had already flushed out.

May 5, 2010 at 7:40 AM  

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