Elks and Beyond -- Jordan White's Traveling, Skiing and Outdoor Adventures

Traveling, Ski Mountaineering and Climbing in Colorado and…

22 Days in the Tordrillos–Part 2

We’ve been back to reading books and playing cards for a few more days, just praying for the snow and wind to stop so we can go skiing, What’s that Joel? We might actually be good to go for a bit?  With our backs aching from 8 days of digging and snow removal, we crawl out of our tents to blue skies and a completely fresh looking landscape of white.  The immediate instinct is to boot up and run out of camp like wild men in search of creamy powder turns, but our training brings us back to reality, realizing that we would only be asking for trouble with avalanche conditions right after the storm.  I guess one more day in camp to work on our sun tans will be ok.

Sun Tanning and watching snow sliding.

Sun Tanning and watching snow sliding.

A note from Anton's Sponsor.

A note from Anton's Sponsor.

Somehow our PBR stash made it to almost the end of the trip.

Somehow our PBR stash made it to almost the end of the trip.

Looking at our new canvas, and my ugly mug.

Looking at our new canvas, and my ugly mug.

40 below makes some really nice gear that works very well for expedition use.

40 below makes some really nice gear that works very well for expedition use.

Watching nature taking its course is a fun time.  Avalanches, rolling clouds and the sun beating down, make for quite the show.

Watching nature taking its course is a fun time. Avalanches, rolling clouds and the sun beating down, make for quite the show.

Doing my best to make Ansel Adams Proud.

Doing my best to make Ansel Adams Proud.

This happened. All day long.

This happened. All day long.

As the sun sets, we get our gear ready for tomorrow.  Its time to go skiing.

As the sun sets, we get our gear ready for tomorrow. Its time to go skiing.

Next morning we are up and ready to get some skiing done. Motivation is at an all trip high with all of the pent up energy from the last few days of being tent bound. Everything takes just a bit longer after this much snow. We spend some time digging out our skis, poles and gear and eventually find ourselves ready to go. We start off headed down and across the glacier to a new zone. Which meant we started with our skins in our pack before we got to go uphill.

Anton blazing trail all the way to the top.  I think he needed an outlet.

Anton blazing trail all the way to the top. I think he needed an outlet.

Yep, that is still Anton in the lead.  The bluest skies I have ever seen came after the storm and stayed with us.

Yep, that is still Anton in the lead. The bluest skies I have ever seen came after the storm and stayed with us.

Yes, yes.  Anton still has his head down leading the way.  Sometimes you just know what you want.

Yes, yes. Anton still has his head down leading the way. Sometimes you just know what you want.

I suppose if you break all of the skin track from the bottom, you deserve first tracks.

Anton Slaying the area that we started to call the amphitheater.

Anton Slaying the area that we started to call the amphitheater.

IMG_0394

Thats actually it for action photos on the day. We shot quite a bit of video on the day, and hopefully sometime in the near future we can put together an edit for it.

It's the end of another amazing day in Alaska.  We sure are glad the weather is being nicer to us these days.

It's the end of another amazing day in Alaska. We sure are glad the weather is being nicer to us these days.

The following morning we wake up to more blue skies and decide to make a long outing out of it. We pack a bit more water and food than normal and set out for our destination for the day.

The long flat ridge line on the right was our way up for the day.

The long flat ridge line on the right was our way up for the day.

We really had no idea exactly what we would ski when we got over there, but this was without a doubt the most scenic touring we did for the entire trip. The sun beat down on us all day. Skinning in T-shirts dreaming about ice cream, we slowly made our way up the ridge line.

Brad headed up the switchbacks to gain the long easy ridge. Photo Anton

Brad headed up the switchbacks to gain the long easy ridge.

Blue Ice was visible all over.  Some of the seracs in this area are downright impressive.

Blue Ice was visible all over. Some of the seracs in this area are downright impressive.

The higher we get on the ridge the more lines we spot in the distance. There is a life time of skiing on this glacier. If only we could be here forever. Though we might end up missing some real world amenities.

The Couloir in the background was on our list, but you can only ski so many things in a trip.

The Couloir in the background was on our list, but you can only ski so many things in a trip.

Heading up the mellow rolling ridge line.  Photo Anton.

Heading up the mellow rolling ridge line. Photo Anton.

Ballin Brad Unglert coming into a rest break.

Ballin Brad Unglert coming into a rest break.

"Wahahaa.  I just took your new Facebook profile pic." Anton Sponar
Coming up to the top of our skin.  We are completely gassed.  In hindsight we traveled about 7 miles one way to get here from camp.  Photo Anton Sponar

Coming up to the top of our skin. We are completely gassed. In hindsight we traveled about 7 miles one way to get here from camp. Photo Anton Sponar

Brad playing with a camera on a stick.  Pretty cool ridge line to be standing on top of.  Oh yeah, the skiing didn't suck either.  Photo Brad Unglert

Brad playing with a camera on a stick. Pretty cool ridge line to be standing on top of. Oh yeah, the skiing didn't suck either. Photo Brad Unglert

Tracks.

Tracks.

One of the funniest experiences any of us had the entire trip was skiing roped up back down the glacier below our ski line. The glacier had enough pitch to it that gravity would do the work, but was flat enough we opted to stay roped up. We went flying down the glacier like a carriage team at like 35 mph trying not to get clotheslined or whiplashed into the snow. It was hard not to laugh the entire way down.

Photo Anton Sponar

Photo Anton Sponar

Back to camp:

Anton and Brad coming back into camp after a long day. With our ridge line in the background.

Anton and Brad coming back into camp after a long day. With our ridge line in the background.

Just another day of skiing in Alaska.

Just another day of skiing in Alaska.

After some double bacon cheeseburgers while watching the sun sink behind the mountains we run for all of our clothes as the temperature drops 30 degrees in a matter of minutes. We head to sleep to get ready for another big day of skiing tomorrow. The nights weren’t particularly cold while it was snowing, but they are downright brutal with the clear skies after the storm.

The crew on our way to our first ski objective of the day.

The crew on our way to our first ski objective of the day.

We found a fun little mini golf wall that made for some fun hucking.

We found a fun little mini golf wall that made for some fun hucking.

Yours truly enjoying the creamy goodness that Alaskan North Faces offer.

Yours truly enjoying the creamy goodness that Alaskan North Faces offer.

Matt Making it rain in Alaska.

Matt Making it rain in Alaska.

Brad being Brad.

Brad being Brad.

A view of our drawing.

A view of our drawing.

At the bottom of our mini-golf line we headed towards the big face we wake up to every morning and on the way i found this little guy to jump off of.

Haha, this was more about the shot than the skiing.  A bit slushy on this south facing terrain.

Haha, this was more about the shot than the skiing. A bit slushy on this south facing terrain.

Our next destination for the day was familiar, but completely whited out again after all the snow, made for a clean canvas.  Anton dropping into the land of fun.

Our next destination for the day was familiar, but completely whited out again after all the snow, made for a clean canvas. Anton dropping into the land of fun.

I think Brad said he could ski this face everyday over and over again for the rest of his life.

I think Brad said he could ski this face everyday over and over again for the rest of his life.

At the bottom we traversed hard right to make it over to the last run of the day, which was also the first place we skied on the trip.

Nearing the top of our last skin as the sun is getting lower in the sky.  Cold time is coming.

Nearing the top of our last skin as the sun is getting lower in the sky. Cold time is coming.

Evening light on pow covered slopes.  Photo Anton Sponar

Evening light on pow covered slopes. Photo Anton Sponar

Back in camp it was cold time, but we still decided to start working on packing up for our pick up in a couple days. This was the last day we all skied together before breaking down camp. Brad and I went out for a short morning effort the following day so that Brad could squeeze in his naked skiing for the trip, but other than that, we felt like this was a pretty good way to end the trip.

Somehow we made it to the end with PBR, but I'd be lying if i said we didn't drink it all on the glacier.

Somehow we made it to the end with PBR, but I'd be lying if i said we didn't drink it all on the glacier.

A word from the best forecaster out there.  Thanks Joel Gratz.

A word from the best forecaster out there. Thanks Joel Gratz.

The divers where we slept for 22 days and the piles of snow that we moved over the course of the storm.

The divers where we slept for 22 days and the piles of snow that we moved over the course of the storm.

A few hours into the day we heard the plane come over but couldn’t see it at first. They came in and landed right in front of our pile of gear. When our pilot hopped out it was rather interesting to see another human after being out for almost a month with the same 3 dudes. Through some miraculous packing, we managed to get all of our gear, and all four of us into the beaver and it even took off! Coasting down the runway we had mixed feelings about whether we were ready to go. I think the consensus was yes, but only for a short break. We would all like to go back. And i wouldn’t be surprised if we did. But you never know what sorts of opportunities the future holds, but hopefully the Hayes Glacier falls somewhere in that future.

Loaded and leaving.

Loaded and leaving.

A nice sampling of fine beers along with a steak or two, and we were all feeling a bit more normal, maybe the shower helped too.

A nice sampling of fine beers along with a steak or two, and we were all feeling a bit more normal, maybe the shower helped too.

After spending about a weeks worth of time in Anchorage, I can adamantly say that I’ll be good for a while on the “Alaskan City Life,” send me back out to the BC as soon as possible.

Til next time Alaska!

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2 Comments

  1. pioletski December 20, 2012

    Nice, nice, nice!

  2. Mark Koelker February 5, 2013

    Looks like a fantastic trip! Dreaming of my chance to get on the glaciers in AK!!!

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