Wow, it is a long ways from Anchorage to the lower 48. Driving the Alcan and Cassiar Highways during the hours wildlife is prancing about like entertainers at a renaissance fair is not a great option, so we put in a series of four driving days of about 12 hours each to reach the US border, and camped out each ‘night’ to let the bears and caribou have the road without the threat of my Buckstop front bumper ruining their fun.
More than four days (including driving around to a few industry visits) of sitting in a cramped truck is quite enough, so we were excited to finally squat that rabbit and be near a PNW climb and ski option we could hit quick and get back on the asphalt for the final leg into Colorado.
Interestingly, the usual easy ski route I’m used to on Hood, involving the Pearly Gates via the Hogbacks, was blocked by extra thick formations of cauliflower ice. Instead, most climbers and skiers appear to be using the Mazama Chute to climber’s left, so that’s what we did.
We were there a few hours too early for effective sun softening of the snow, so the face had what to me was some scary ice above the predatory fume filled crater, but we got down the steeper stuff in once piece and had what was overall a nice climb and descent to break up the drive. A bit of lunch at Timberline ended the festivities, and we were back on the road trying to punch through to Idaho before dinner time.
Jordan and Caleb have been working hard on their mountain photography during our road trip and Denali climb. You can see it in their selection for this trip report. Nice job guys!
One glitch to share. I’ve made fun for years of the people who stick their nose in their automobile GPS and end up on weird routes the thing computes. Well, the same thing happened to us getting from Hood to Interstate 84. The 20 miles of one-lane pavement and gravel road was a bit scary in a huge camper-trailer rig, but we figured Garmin had to be right, right? Like I always say, adventure is where you find it.
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.