Wednesday, March 09, 2011

East of Denali

Denali from our drop in point (there was actually snow to ski, don't worry)

My friend Andy and I went exploring this past weekend. I was up before 6AM (on a weekend?!), and we drove waaaaay up north, and parked due east of Denali (aka Mt. McKinley). Then we blazed a new trail to slopes that are probably never skied (b/c they're so remote and the snow is meh). Holy sh*t was it beautiful out there! We toured and climbed for about 5 hours...not exactly what most skiers dream of when scoping lines for downhill turns. But it was like summer out there. We were down to just shirts and pants - no jackets, hats, or gloves necessary! Once we reached our summit for the day, we assessed avalanche conditions, determined that things were a bit sketchy (don't' worry, mom, we played it safe), had some late lunch in the hot sun, and then made some rather pathetic turns down the breakable crust. Breakable crust is so NOT my friend. All the powder was down in the alders, which we "skied" through while bushwacking. Thank you winds. Once we were down the mountain, we began the slog back to the truck. I was back home at 10PM. What a day!! I'd do it all over again in an instant.
Yours truly on the hike up. We had to boot pack the last bit up the mountain, and we hiked on tundra! Bring on spring!!
Here's a video I took to show you our surroundings b/c pictures couldn't capture the 360 degrees of mountains. Andy makes an appearance too. We skied a run that you'll see right behind him.
video

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