2015 Denali Ski Base Camp #4

Skiing with Scissors is more fun than running with Scissors. Previously, I skied with Ken and Ben Scissors in Italy and in Southcentral Alaska. This year we went to the Central Alaska Range. The occasion was a graduation celebration from Ken (dad) to Ben (son) for finishing college at CU in Boulder. What a graduation present!

Joe, Ken and Ben in front of Paul Roderick's Dehavilland Beaver at our drop off above the Kahiltna Glacier. 

Heading back to camp after rescue skills on the first day. No planes, no people, no tracks. Just us and the mountains, having a great time. Base camp from 2015 Denali Ski Base Camp #1 is the sunlit glacier beyond our tent. 

Early May equals early start. Heading out on our first big ski mountaineering tour.   

This is what the inside of a dying glacier looks like. As glaciers recede they leave smaller remnants of ice behind, linger in pockets and under moraine. This remnant chunk that we found in the moraine below camp was about 1,000 feet across. It was melting from the inside as air blew through this glacier cave. 

We also found a bear den. I suggested to Ben that he go see if anyone was home. He declined, but he did mark the turf as his own.  

Touring high above the Kahiltna Glacier. The Western Alaska Range stretching into the distance: Kichatna Spires, Tordrillos and Revelations. 

Ken riding perfect spring corn. The high, pointy peak in the distance is Mount Russell. 

Mount Foraker above the Kahiltna Glacier. At 17,400 Foraker is the third highest summit in the United States after Denali and Mount Saint Elias. Add Canada's high point of Mount Logan (19,551') and Mexico's Pico de Orizaba (18,491') and Foraker becomes the sixth highest in North America. 

Our second day tour with six ascents and six descents. Before each pitch, the conversation would include "Let's go see what we find!" That's adventure. 

Relaxing all afternoon after getting up at 3am to beat the spring diurnal avalanche cycles. 

Thanks for a great trip Ken and Ben! Good luck in the real world Ben!