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Tuesday
May242011

White Lice Chute

During four years of ski expeditions around Alaska, Andrew Wexler (congrats buddy on your IFMGA pin...you are now a bonafide Mountain Guide) emphasized the importance of descents. On our last trip together we incorporated the four highest summits in the Tordrillos. We're now doing our own thing: skiing chutes in our backyard with neighbors. Andrew around his home in Canmore, me around Anchorage with Jeff and Andy. 

In the mindset of backyard chutes and neighbors, Andy Newton, Jeff Conaway and I cycled out Eklutna Reservoir for a night at the Mountaineering Club of Alaska's Pitcher's Perch. This is a doghouse-style hut with mice and no insulation. But it's proper-style Alaska. Any more and you might as well go someplace where they speak another language. 

Jeff scoping his next packrafting objective as we approach up the West Fork of the Eklutna River.

 

A kettle pond from a melting remnant of the Eklutna Glacier. Our map shows the glacier being here in 1994. This was a lake when Jeff was last here in 2000. Now it's filled with sediment. The Eklutna Glacier supplies Anchorage's water and some power. 

 

Boys club at Pitchler's Perch after round 1 on the White Lice Chute. The 1,500-foot, 47-degree White Lice Chute is visible there, hanging from the clouds above the hut. The legendary Vin Hoeman first climbed 6,650-foot White Lice Mountain in the 1960's. Maybe he itched his way up the White Lice Chute to the summit. 

 

Booting the chute on round 2. The day before we bailed 500 feet up as it discharged ice and rocks. The weekend before Cathy and I skied Flute Peak and the snow was still dry. This year the snow transitioned from dry to wet on north faces at 5-7,000 feet around May 20. Last year it was about May 26.

 

Nothing was falling down on round 2 because it froze overnight into a sheen of breakable crust.

 

The breakable crust was actually fun skiing. We told the dangling cornice to sit and stay. We gave it a bone and it behaved. 

 

Cycling back around Eklutna Reservoir for Session beer and power rings (Andy-speak for donuts).