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Tuesday
Apr292008

Neacola Mountains 2008

The Neacola Mountains are the most wild and inspirational ski mountains I've ever visited. I'd been itching to return to the Neacolas since our 22-day ski traverse of the Neacolas in 2006. Dan Oberlatz and Aaron Fetter of Alaska Alpine Adventures offered me two weeks of guiding with them and six customers in April 2008. We had amazing weather, unreal terrain to explore, a fat base camp and a fun group. Ski touring doesn't get any better.

We drove to Kenai and flew across Cook Inlet to the Neacola Mountains. In the beautiful springtime weather, Alaskans were picnicking with views of Mount Spurr in the Tordrillo Mountains.

 

We flew past Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna in the Chigmit Mountains. 

 

And landed at 4,500 feet on the Glacier Fork, not far from our base camp on the 2006 Neacola traverse. 

 

 Taking advantage of the weather, we started exploring soon after landing. 

 

Nik Koblov at the pass above camp. In later years, Nik and I skied in Valdez and hiked in the Alaska Range.  

 

Our base camp was strategic for accessing passes. Most of the summits in this area were too rocky to ski.  

 

The rock is really good though. Here's the Dogtooth that Sam Johnson, Ben Christwell and Aaron Thrasher from Anchorage climbed in 2011.

 

Base camp!

 

Fat base camp life style. Mark Stevens (at left) has been on more trips with Dan (in purple) and Alaska Alpine Adventures than anyone. 

 

We had one storm, timed perfectly for a rest day. 

 

Exploring another pass further down the Glacier Fork. We explored and skied eight passes during the trip. 

 

From each pass we skied a huge powder run into an unknown basin. 

 

Dan touring on the lower Glacier Fork.

 

During the last few days of our trip the rocky south faces began avalanching from much-welcomed heat.

 

Doug flew us back to Nikiski in his Beaver on wheel skis.