Exploration was the word for spring time in Alaska this year. The snowpack was shockingly low for April along the Gulf Coast, including Valdez, the one place that you can usually count on for deep snow and steep spines.
The easily accessible mountains were wind hammered and unrideable. Local knowledge became more valuable than ever as we took to our snowmobiles and ventured deep onto the glaciers in the Northern Chugach. The success rate for finding those perfect spine walls dropped, but the adventure of exploration into very seldom visited areas made for a most memorable and fulfilling Spring.
Day trips turned into multi-day glacier camping trips as we crossed from one glacier to the next, sometimes traveling over 100 miles a day. Threading through crevasse fields and around blue ice seracs on our sleds felt other-worldly. This landscape presented challenging route finding. Once a track had been made by one crew, another would push it out further onto the next glacier, until highways developed into the deepest zones of the Chugach.
Lines were climbed and ridden in places that had never seen tracks. However, the surface was just scratched. The possibilities that opened are beyond what any of us expected. This is the Alaska experience.
All photos courtesy of Ben Reynolds.