Ready, set. Mount Baker, Washington. Ski to Sea has to be one of the best “ski” races on the planet. With a climb-ski leg it’s definitely “WildSnow” territory. Last year the great and best forgotten PNW snow drought canceled out the ski racing leg of the event. Plenty of white stuff this year on Mount Baker so the 1,000 foot climb part of the race is on, May 29. Big deal up there, been happening since 1973? More Sea-Ski info here.
Excellent to see that the first climbers to reach Denali’s summit this year were hard-cores doing the Muldrow Glacier route. That is not a trivial endeavor. The group did the now common style of slogging up the complex and heavily crevassed Muldrow then descending Washburn Route to the Kahiltna Glacier airstrip, rather than reversing the Muldrow which can take literally weeks more after you summit. Nice article here.
What with Louie and his friends hanging out with Mr. Griz a few weeks ago, bears in the news have been catching my attention. This guy sounds like he is very blessed to be alive after a big brown attacked him. Apparently the bears in the area he was in have no fear of humans and will just as much charge you as run off when confronted. The report says the man spoke the classic “Hey bear, hey bear” to the bruin as it came at him.
One has to wonder, in the AK, if you shout “hey bear” to a big apex predator, what exactly does that mean to them? Bear language for “dinner?” The man’s bear spray and gun were back in camp. Clearly, these animals are not to be trifled with. Louie told me that another method of hazing off an aggressive bear is to use an air horn, I’d imagine that’s best combined with pepper spray. As for guns, I’ve heard they’re more of a psychological crutch than anything else, since the likelihood of hitting a charging bear with an instantly lethal or even crippling shot is unlikely. Noise and pepper spray don’t require as much accuracy. Me, I’d carry a slug gun anyway. With another one carried by my friends so while the bear is consuming me they have options better than shouting. An even more disturbing bear attack occurred recently up north, during a student mountaineering outing. More on that here.
Here at WildSnow HQ: If you’re in Colorado don’t forget Independence Pass opening Memorial Day weekend. Folks will gather for tailgate celebration on the Saturday of that weekend, May 28, around 11:00 at upper hairpin turn on Aspen side of pass.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.