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Kraken

Updated Alaska Range Conditions - 2007

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Don't let my word make or break your Alaska Range trip, but I just heard today that a party was unable to land in the Ruth (neither at the Mountain House or at the Gorge landing strip site. Also, BC on the Kahiltna is dry too. Apparently the only good place right now is the Tokositna.

 

I do know that people have landed at KIA, since Masatoshi Kuriaki (Japanese Caribou) is currently up there. I just have heard nothing but reports of extremely dry, cold conditions up there.

 

From the info I heard today, there is a three foot base of snow right now...not exactly ideal. The extended weather forecast calls for cold and clear, lots of high pressure.

 

Just thought you all might want to know. We'll get snow up there, just not sure when.

 

I am unsure as to the condition of certain routes at the moment.

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Thanks Clint!

 

If I may add to this, the problem with the landings in the Ruth is not the snow depth or the crevasses, it is that there has basically been a full month of very strong winds, with no precipitation, and the glacier surfaces have become very hardpacked and bumpy. There was an enormous amount of snowfall in the Alaska Range between July and November last summer/fall, particularly above 6000 feet- in excess of 25 feet according to one estimate- so I'm confident the snowpack is deep on the glaciers, just very windpacked.

 

For the past month, Alaska has been gripped by a strong and persistent arctic air mass. Paul from TAT says daytime temps in the Ruth are steady at -10 to -20 F during the day!!! Presumably, much much colder at night.

 

From the NOAA website, check out this interesting info:

 

AT FAIRBANKS...THE MEAN TEMPERATURE FROM FEB 19

THROUGH MAR 14...AROUND -18F...IS THE COLDEST ON

RECORD AND IS ALMOST 2 DEGREES COLDER THAN THE

PREVIOUS RECORD FOR THIS TIME PERIOD

 

The same pretty much goes throughout central/southcentral Alaska. Anchorage has had well below normal temps every single day in this period. Talkeetna's warmest low temp in the period is +7F!! Brr.

 

In any case...it's still winter, and things can change quickly. One 10 foot dump and it's a new day.

 

 

 

 

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No kidding about the wind... 72mph gust were recorded yesterday at that train pass down the Kenai. Anchorage has been below freezing sense Febuary 7th. We are also having the coldest March on record so far.

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In Soldotna our day time high yesterday was 12F, that is the average low temp for this time of year and it was -20F this morning.

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According to TAT as of today, there are parties in the Ruth currently as well as an appropriate landing strip at the mountain house. Believe what you will, I suppose.

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I also called TAT and they did say there were folks on the Ruth. I have not heard any first hand reports of route conditions. One of the rangers I spoke to was sceptical about ice conditions, on say, Ham and Eggs, but he also said they hadn't been able to get in to the Ruth themselves to look around.

 

I have a trip planned there very soon, so if anyone hears any first hand conditions reports I sure would like to hear them too.

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Two Italians came off the big D today.

They did the Muldrow in 14 days and were flown out of Kahiltna.

They said the headwall on the fixed lines out of 14k is blue ice (forget skiing out of there). They reported very cold temperatures and noted that last year's trail from 11k up to 17k is still visible, actually raised above the rest of the snow. BAD! Rangers are building base camp this week and should be installing the fixed lines.

 

Ruth Glacier: about 6 feet of snow around the Sheldon Amphitheatre. Another skier came out today from there and said it had snowed roughly 18 inches in the past week, so there could be about 7 feet of snow.

 

No news on route conditions in the Ruth yet.

 

Some climbers did land on the Buckskin, little Switzerland, the Tokositna, etc.

 

I have a buddy who's been laying tracks around the Range lately and is flying in again on Wednesday.

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The West Buttress as of several days ago, doesn't show much, but that's all I've got. l_1873af47745316f68f56932dc1a009c0.jpg

 

Da' Ruf Gorge

 

l_fc194b2f84c9f1f1d8d5fb2520430f36.jpg

 

Edited by Kraken

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My partner and I came out of the Ruth last weekend. Conditions were not great. TAT was not landing on the Root Canal, and the snow was funky. Deep layers of sugary shite below the surface. The party next to us reported wallowing in waist deep snow on Barrill (Jap Couloir) and on some aspect of Dan Beard.

 

It dumped while we were there. We like to wait after a big snow to climb gullies, but other parties near us were attacking Dickey and others in full force. At first we felt like big losers, but after watching multiple parties get hammered by spindrift, we felt a little better. Like maybe we know what we're doing after all.

Edited by Staples10

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Please keep your information on those folks to yourself for the time being. thanks

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Just got back from quite possibly one of the shortest AK Range trips ever, can't complain seeing as how it was a free trip.

 

After waiting for 6 days in Talkeetna, we finally were flown in to the Root Canal by Paul Roderick. With another trip planned for the St. Elias Range on the 19th, I had to get out soon. Upon flying in on Monday and being the first team to land in the Root Canal this season, the Ruth area looked to be in good shape.

 

Ham and Eggs had lots of snow on it, the hanger below the Bear Tooth let go big time distributing semi-truck sized blocks all over the place. Ham was avalanching big time, and in seeing that it would need at least a few days to clear and I had already extinguished all of my time waiting in Talkeetna, I made the call and got out during a spell of high pressure and clear skies.

 

Two feet of new snow in the Ruth area, people have reportedly climbed 11,300 (lots of deep snow) and the other standards in the area have all been seeing action.

 

I had several buddies just come off the W. Buttress of Denali, none summited due to very cold temps, lots of new snow, and just nasty cold conditions. As of yesterday, only 5 people have summited the big D this year. Rangers in Talkeetna reported that 6 of the first 10 parties suffered crevasse falls on the lower glacier, and a party of 3 that did summit all suffered moderate frostbite.

 

Ran into W, from here on CC.com as well as Ben Gilmore and Wilkinson.

 

Here's a mini TR and pics I put up over at the Alaska Mountain Forum:

http://alaskamountainforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=2051

 

Stay safe, have fun!

Edited by Kraken

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yeah, the big guy gonna put his TR up on here? made for some real fine reading...pictures would make it perfect.

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I just got back from Denali West Buttress, and there are crevasses everywhere, people falling into them. I broke through a crevasse up to my waist at about 2a.m. leading a group, and it was about 2+ feet wide and went in both directions forever. We had to jump it with our sleds. Pretty deep, and you felt the cold breeze pushing out. The snow is melting quickly. Go before it's not good. I was supposed to go with Dave Hahn June 25th, but I left on May 11th, and got home this week (June 5). By the way, I made the summit. We went with ClimbingforChrist.org

Edited by vertical_hiker

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