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Archive for May, 2010

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Locations: Denali National Park – S.E. Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, including summits of Control Peak Tower (8,670 ft / 2,643 m) and Mt. Francis (10,450 ft / 3,185 m)

Dates: Thursday, May 13 – Thursday, May 20, 2010

Photos & Video: Nick

Weather: It’s the Alaska Range, so expect the unexpected as I have come to find out. Generally, we really lucked out with the weather and had perfect climbing conditions and bluebird days on our 2 summit days. We only encountered white-out conditions (and only partial days) during 2 of our 8 days on the Kahiltna.

Temperatures fluctuated greatly during the day depending on the amount of cloud cover and wind, and temps were generally relatively cold at night.

Synopsis: After skiing the Sierra High Route and climbing and skiing Mt. Williamson with Jon, the end of my May would be spent in and around the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, located in Denali National Park.

While we do have some smallish glaciers (e.g., the Norman Clyde Glacier around the Palisades and the Whitney Glacier on Mount Shasta) here in California, I was craving a forum to formally learn the technical aspects of large-scale glacier travel and crevasse rescue. As I fully intend on making trips into the Alaska Range in the future, I felt it was the best location to take such a course. A beautiful setting with heavily glaciated terrain – it fit the ticket perfectly.

Note: This Mega TR is several pages long – just click at the end of each page to continue.

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Location: Mt. Williamson (14,375 ft / 4,382 m), Eastern Sierra

Dates: Friday, May 7 – Saturday, May 8, 2010

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos & Video: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Jon)

Weather: Both days were bluebird, with warm temperatures and no wind on Friday, but a 20-30 mph wind up high on Saturday.

Avalanche Conditions: We did not encounter any instabilities in the snow pack on the ascent or descent. The snow is undergoing a strong freeze/thaw cycle (although cold winds on Saturday kept much of the snow from significantly thawing).

Synopsis: After finishing the Sierra High Route, my plan was to meet Jon and ski both Mt. Tyndall and Mt. Williamson. However, after skiing along the Tyndall Plateau on Day 5 of the SHR, I did not think the North Couloir on Tyndall was worth the massive approach to get back there. While it is an aesthetic line, Jon and I would rather save Tyndall for summer climbing on the East face.

Therefore, our plans were changed to only ski Mt. Williamson, the 2nd tallest peak in the Sierra.

Note: There are several pages to this TR.

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Locations: Sierra High Route

Dates: Saturday, May 1 – Thursday, May 6, 2010

Skiers: Geoff, Barry, Mike & Nick

Photographers: All photos in this TR were taken with my camera. Most were taken my me, but the pictures of me were taken by other members of the team.

Synopsis: We were embarking on the Alpine Skills International (“ASI”) 2009 6-day Sierra High Route, from West to East. The trip would be lead by Geoff Clarke, an ASI Guide and former Chief Telemark Examiner for the PSIA.

The planned route crosses the Sierra Nevada over 9 high cols and passes, beginning at old Wolverton Ski Resort on the edge of Sequoia National Park and ending at the valley floor outside Independence (off 395). The planned route starts at approximately 7,200ft., climbs to around 10,000ft. and holds the line between 10,500ft. and 13,000ft., until dropping down on the Eastern side of the Sierra.

I attempted the same route last year with Geoff, but we turned around near Copper Mine Pass due to High avalanche conditions.

Based on Geoff’s running GPS, we traveled approximately 47 miles and climbed over 17,000 of vert over the course of the 6 days.

Note: Each Day is on a separate page, and the bottom of each page has a link to the next day.

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