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Saturday
May222010

Girdwood Glacier Skiing 

The Marshall family came up Laramie, Wyoming for a week of guided ski mountaineering. Kent has been backcountry skiing forever, from Canada to France. His daughter Cassady is project manager for the cleanup at the former Chevron refinery in Kenai, a good excuse for Kent to visit Alaska. Kent's son Brooks also joined us from Logan, Utah. Brooks is about to start a Ph.D program in chemistry at Bozeman. Good luck Brooks! No distractions in Bozeman. Ha!

Laramie people are a hardy bunch. Their local hill is Snowy Range Ski Area. Chickens fall over when the wind stops blowing. To welcome the Marshalls to the Chugach I mustered up a windstorm on the first night of our four-day trip. Then we had endless skiing in blistering sunshine.

Alpine Air lifted us from Girdwood to the Sparrow Glacier in 15 minutes. The weather clagged in soon after allowing us to focus on avalanche rescue, crevasse rescue, then building massive snow block walls for the windstorm.

 


Cassady cutting dry snow on our first run of the trip. To check snow stability before the run, Brooks gave me a counter balance belay over the ridge. I found a weak layer from seven days earlier that failed on CT24 Q2 at 25 cm. Since we saw no other red flags or positive results from slope tests, we skied this slope one at a time, traversing skiers left above the schrund.

 

 

On day two we skied seven passes with piles of turns in between. Here we're skinning above the Pipet Glacier with pass four below us and pass three on the sun/shadow line on the ridge behind. 

 

Side stepping down a pass to the open skiing.

 

Kent reeeeely likes to ski. If Kent's this stoked at 60, how stoked was he at 20?

 

Our basecamp high above the Girdwood Valley.

 

Kent, Cassady and Brooks minutes before skiing down to catch our flight back to Girdwood and lunch at Chair Five. Thanks for an incredible trip Kent, Cassady and Brooks!