Friday, May 13, 2011

Alaska, The Tour, Day 2, The Valley of the Tusk

The next day dawned completely different from the previous with low, grey skies and intermittent light snow.
A downward traverse brought us to the mouth of the Valley of the Tusk, where we attained the glacier and headed into the magical valley.
The taller mountains played peak-a-boo with us.

We found an amazing, untracked couloir that needed to be skied.
Steve and John head up behind me.
John, Steve, and I take a break from booting to smile for Jed's pic.
Jed got this nice shot of me (my rear more specifically) near our turn around. He measured the slope angle here at 50 degrees.
The couloir kinda doglegged left, but the next section had a more southerly aspect so the snow was crusty and the exposure above cliffs was intimidating. Nevertheless we were looking at about a 1,000' of great skiing below us.

A zoom shot of Jed high in the couloir.
And Jed rips the lower part too.

Looking back & up.
We then left the Valley of the Tusk and headed for a short peak with a beautiful face just above our camp.

We attained the northeast ridge and headed up. We did not make it far as the ridge became too steep and exposed.

On the way back we had a close call when Jed triggered a shallow (12" to 18") slab and went for a short ride that nearly took him over cliffs. Super scary. The slab slid on a buried layer of surface hoar which we simply did not believe could linger on this ridge.

Jed on the way up.
This slope slid and took Jed down and to the right. Thankfully it did not slide while we were booting up (Jed photo).
We were severely sobered by the incident and the stoke from the earlier couloir drop was completely eclipsed.

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