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wfinley

[TR] Alaska - Carpathian Peak; North Ridge 3/12/2011

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Trip: Alaska - Carpathian Peak; North Ridge

 

Date: 3/12/2011

 

Trip Report:

Getting in on the march prize in the hopes of offsetting my gear binge footprint! :rocken:

 

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Carpathian Peak (6020'). The North Ridge takes the left skyline.

 

Carpathian. A peak that everyone stares at look at - many try and a few luck out and make it to the top. Most SCAK climbers and skiers have at least one attempt story. Many have multiple attempt stories - the stories all seem to have the same theme: Get to high camp, endure an epic storm, shovel like mad and then escape as soon as the snow relents. My 4 attempts span 14 years and fall into the prior category as well as a couple other alpine categories including the show up at the airport but the pilot never bothers to, slog up a neighboring peak, get scared, run back down.

 

But this past weekend was different. High pressure has been sitting over Southcentral Alaska for 3 weeks now. The skiing sucks.... I mean really sucks. The ice climbing is good - but ice cragging gets old and I tend to be terrified anytime I venture on anything beyond a fat sticky Grade II... thus we chose to go mountain climbing.

 

So we loaded up the packs for an overnight spring shake down (even though it's not yet spring and they were calling for overnight temps of around -15.)

 

We skied across Portage Lake then up Portage glacier to a nice icebox campsite where temps dipped to -15 at 6pm. By 7pm I was in the bag and didn't stir until 7am.

 

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The next morning we set off around 9:30, skied 2 miles to a col, then set off on crampons for the N. Ridge. The route getting to the ridge proper consisted of mellow snow slopes - then up onto the ridge for a beautiful undulating ridgeline that leads to the summit pyramid.

 

 

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On the North Ridge with Price William Sound in the background. This area sees an average annual precipitation of 197 inches of rain and 241 inches of snowfall. That's more than 16 feet of rain and 17 feet of snow!

 

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Note the ski tracks lower right. This peak does get skied sometimes - but the ski tracks seen here were from a friend who tried it a couple days before us, took a fall and luckily self arrested mere feet above a gaping crevasse. :shock:

 

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400' of mellow steep snow led to the summit.

 

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We then reversed the route... easily downclimbing the steep snow then across the ridge and back to camp. A final ski down terrible snow put us back at the car just at dark.

 

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Friends poaching our bootpack. Blackstone Bay behind them. (Fun place to go sea kayaking.)

 

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Looking back up at the summit.

 

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Skiing hardpack back to camp.

 

Many many more pix here.

 

Gear Notes:

- Glacier gear, chocolate covered espresso beans, skis.

- the "performance fit" isn't a good idea when you plan on camping in -15 temps

 

Approach Notes:

Ski across lake, go up.

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Dang, that looks fun! Congrats on snagging it, and glad your friend stayed out of the gaper. Nice wow-pix!

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are both pictures before the crevasse photo (2nd and 3rd photo) on the portage lake? Guessing the 2nd photo of lake and 3rd photo is glacier.

 

nice photos

Edited by genepires

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The "performance fit" is with those new orange Scarpas? I bought a pair and fitted them big, for thick socks, lots of toe room and cold temps. Thinking I'll appreciate that in central Idaho some day. I've been out on some 0 f days with no problems. Will they work in AK? I too looked at that peak when I lived up there in 82, but also never saw the weather/work window open up to do it. Way to go!

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@genepires: That 2nd photo is Portage Lake - and the 3rd photo Portage Glacier. It's pretty cool to be able to ski across the lake and right up to the glacier.

@mccallboater: yes. against better judgment I allowed the boot fitter to talk me into a smaller pair of boots. They're a better fit than my old boots - but they won't keep me warm in extreme cold whereas my last boots were a 1/2 size too big and super warm.

 

 

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