February 1, 2014

Observations – Eagle River area – Magnificent & Vista

Obvious signs of instability:

  • None


  • Mostly sunny with temps in the upper 20s and generally light winds

Surface conditions:

  • Generally slide-for-life on a thick, hard, and solid melt-freeze crust
  • Breakable crusts and windboard in very thin areas of the snowpack
  • Dry, wind-affected, and softer snow in the upper elevations (above ~4000′)
  • Surface hoar up to ~5mm in valley floors, largest near open drainages, and on wind-protected slopes below ~3000′
  • Surface faceting elsewhere


Randoist Brian Harder (aka Randoman) and I made some of the best lemonade I’ve ever tasted today.  Ingredients consisted of ~8-9 miles of booting (not an inch of skinning and mostly in crampons), ~7750′ vertical feet, three descents from two summits, turns in a spectrum of snow conditions (ranging from dry powder to boilerplate slide-for-life) down some very cool faces and features, and excellent stability.

We headed to the top of Magnificent:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbooting magnificent

In order to ski this:magnificent linemagnificent line 2

En route to ski these:vista from the south

Bringing Randoism to the top of Vista:booting vistaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Randoists on the west face of Vista:brian west vistamat west vista

Our exit via the south face of Vista:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A hiker, apparently scoffing at the idea of skiing such conditions, asked what I was going to do with those things on my back – a silly question; there’s Chugach love to be had:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unconditional love is the best.

Several of the above photos are courtesy of Randoist Brian Harder.  Check out his site: SkiMo Life.

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