Day 10, Chugach range, Alaska. 4 km in 7 hours …

Published 01.08 in category Ice Legacy Chugach Alaska

Chugach – Day 10 Report

4 km in 7 hours sounds bad. But not too bad since we went over the second col.

The alarm rings at 6am. This morning it rains. The drips falling on the fabric of the tent produce a sound that makes the tent life even more cozy. When you are in there you just want to hide deeper in your sleeping bag. I like picking few pieces of chocolate and let them melt in my mouth while listening to the rain. Few millimeters of polyamide separates two worlds. Inside it’s comfortable and warm. The outside is grey and rainy. 0605, Børge proposes to stay asleep for a while until the rain stops. He declares “I don’t like rain”. I reply “Me neither”. And even if rain is precious water, this morning I have one wish. Mother Nature, please stop the rain! Snow is no problem but rain…

11am, crampons adjusted, backpack strapped, we slowly start carrying the rest of our equipment up the slope. It’s time to say “Goodbye!” to Tar glacier. We have the tracks from yesterday which helps our progression. We are sweating big time. The last pitch trekking towards the top of the col, we are still walking with our crampons. There isn’t snow anymore but small rocks, a little bit of grass and some flowers! So just imagine, two guys walking on crampons in the grass carrying on their back skis and sleds. Must be something wrong, right? We unload our gear for a short break. “Candies Børge?”. He looked at me smiling. I throw him one that he manages to get directly in his mouth. “10points!” I say. He goes aloha with both hands, and a big smile!

“Ok let’s do this!”. The rope that Børge placed yesterday is still here. It makes a big loop around a rock and goes all the way 100meters below. We are bound to abseil down. But before we need to put our load on our back again. For this we help each. One is grabbing the shoulder straps of the backpack and the other is behind the sled (both being attached together) helping to lift. “3,2,1…got it”. I progressively see Børge going down that steep slope. There are some loose rocks so we better not spend to much here. 30min later, the rope is coiled and we are back on the skies.

Our descent to Silvester glacier is pretty smooth. On our left we see some huge icefalls on the distance. We are going to be further below crossing on a safe avenue before heading up again towards the third mountain pass that separates Silvester from Powell glacier. From where we are now, the pass looks steep! “We’ll see” declares Børge. On the way, the raw ice is mixed with small stones. I’m afraid that this stones scrap the bottom of our sleds. After the raw ice comes the snow. We use full skin as we have about 70kilos to pull. We take turns for whose doing the track in that soft summer snow. Soon we can spot crevasses. We are slowly getting closer to the mountain pass. It looks like there is a potential North route. That’s for tomorrow though… It’s 1830, Børge uses an avalanche probe to identify the crevasses and find a safe place to camp. He goes “Crevasses are quite dangerous in this valley”. It’s important to keep in mind that the dangerous ones are the ones you don’t see. Having the floor disappearing under your weight is very weird and scary.

However, we are back in the tent ready to eat dried chicken and trade some salmon for some beef. We are feeling good. Time will show for tomorrow’s traverse.

Bonne nuit!




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