Day 8 – Can we call this a day off?

Published 30.07 in category Ice Legacy Chugach Alaska

 

 

Chugach – Report Day 8

Can we call that a day off?
But we found a way up!

The weather forecast yesterday said rain for the whole day. We thought about having a rest day. It rained during the night but calmed down in the morning. Around 9 it cleared so we decided to go and postpone our day off for later. “Are we sure about that?” The weather got even better so we were on the skis at 11am.

We skied towards the end of a mysterious valley. It’s narrow and the steep mountains around were looking down at us. Rock falls, avalanches… we felt vulnerable. But our route is away from the danger at the moment so we look and hear the spectacle going on in this majestic amphitheater.

Our goal of the day is to find a route somewhere safe in order to connect with another glacier arm called Tar. We leave the sleds behind as we approach the slopes. Helmets, crampons, harness, rope, jumar, we are set for a reconnaissance trip. We have two options in front of us. The first one is quite straight up. Rocks and rocks. It looks that there is a passage right in between a hanging glacier and a rock face. If we stay on the right side of it we should be sheltered from any ice falls. This option would take us directly on top of the glacier standing in the back side of he col. The second option has partly some good snow, looks safer than option 1 but it would take us way higher on a ridge. According to our satellite images, the other side is wild and steep. Let’s try option 1!

As we go we experience a slope of approx. 30 to 40 degrees. We are confident for 3/4 of the way but still wondering about the top. We can’t see it from the base of the slope. As we progress our hopes are growing. It looks that there is a logical line which could take us to the right place before going down (another day though) to Tar. The rocks are sliding under our feet. We don’t look forward to carry our gear up there.

However, we managed to find a way up. A gullie with ice on side and ice on the other has taken us to the top of the col, if we can call that steep place a col!! Hurra!! We are now standing on the top. We are mesmerized by the place. This project is definitely taking us to unique places!

We decide that we’ll carry our equipment up that slope, into the gullie and to top. On the way down, Borge and I built an anchor in the ice. The idea is to fix 100meters of rope so we can jumar (auto-locker tool) up which will help us with our heavy backpacks.

Back at the base of the mountain, we load half of our gear each and start trekking up. It’s now two heavy donkeys with an orange sled in the back doing some mountaineering, ahahahahah!

It’s 6pm. The donkeys are on the top of the col. Hi 5 and let’s go down and camp. Unfortunately Borge lost the external microphone of his camera. On the way we try to follow our tracks and spend an hour looking for it. No mic for today. Maybe we’ll have some luck tomorrow when we carry our second load. Crossed fingers… It has been anyway a great day!!

Cheers
Vince

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