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Monday
Apr142014

Western Chugach Skiing

The best skiing in the world is right here, around home in the Western Chugach. Maybe I'm biased, but what's better than untracked glaciers and summits?  

Coming from New York City to sample this incredible skiing were Mike Schmid and Bryan Herold. They rip, a result of skiing Vermont their whole life. This spring they wanted to step up their ski mountaineering skills while climbing and skiing Western Chugach peaks. 

We flew from Girdwood up to the Sparrow Glacier with flexible plans for three nights of camping.

 

We dumped our camping gear and started skiing peaks. 

 

First run of the trip.


Mike on the sharp end, crossing the bergschrund. My advice: "If you punch through, and the hole is black, then don't fall in."

 

Returning to camp after an epic first day. Mount Marcus Baker, the highest summit in the Chugach, in the distance. 

 

Mike using a breakfast scrambler to thaw out his boots. Outside temp was 3 degrees, but inside was toasty. 

 

Bryan riding exposed terrain with a full pack as we crossed to the Pipit Glacier. A crash course in: "If it just weighs an ounce then leave it behind."

 

Bryan on the sharp end leading to our camp on the Pipit Glacier. 

 

We set up camp two and made powder laps on Longspur Peak. 

 

Last run of the day. 

 

Mike gets a first glimpse over a pass on day three. 

 

Mike using his poles in piolet ramasse to sideslip exposed ice. 

 

Transition from crampons to ski mode.

 

"The stopwatch is on guys. Move!" Transitions eat time. Planning ahead is the key to minimizing transition time. Like packing light, it takes a lifetime to master transitions. This is part of the reason mountaineering doesn't get boring. 

 

Mike part way through a long day of peaks, passes and long descents.  

 

Sunset ascent of Hendrix Peak at the end of day three. 

 

Recovery drink and food for Chugach ski mountaineers at the Silvertip Grill. Thanks for the great trip Mike and Bryan!