Thursday, May 20, 2010

AK - The Backside

Most of our time & energy was focussed on the giant wall our camp stared at. However there was a considerable amount of worthy terrain on the other side of our camp that was out of view. Jones had scoped this terrain pretty well on his flight in and had some decent photos on his camera. The access was through a fairly long couloir that emptied out onto a playground of powder filled ridges and gullies. Jones dubbed it "Cameraman Couloir." Getting 8 riders and cameramen down the couloir safely would prove to be challenging, but we all made it. I was glad to be the second one through while there was still lots of soft snow left in it. After getting some on slope shots beneath the couloir it was time to figure out how to get back up to our camp. Originally we thought we might be able to make our way back the way we came down, but this proved unfeasible. There was the option of touring out to the Brady Glacier and back up to camp on our track from the previous day at the east end of the wall, but this was a long way. There was another option of climbing a chute that would put us just above camp to the north. It would be a slog too, but shorter than going out to the Brady and back. That was the way we ended up taking. We would drop back down this chute one more time (and climb out) to get a shot with Josh, but we left many lines unridden in this zone.

The crew makes their way up to the entrance.

"Cameraman Couloir" from the bottom.

Happy cameraman gets a few turns.

Jones makes his way back up for another pow shot.

What goes down must go up. The bottom of the climb home.

And the top.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Alaskan Beard

I took a photo of myself each day during the AK mission. Thankfully there's no way to record smell.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AK Again.

After shooting footage for the "Deeper" project in B.C. during February & March, it was time to once again meet in Alaska in April. The initial crew consisted of riders Jeremy Jones, Ryland Bell, Josh Dirksen, Lucas Debari, our guide Tom Burt, cameramen Chris Edmands and myself, photogs G.V.D. and Seth Lightcap. We all arrived in Haines eager to get onto the snow ASAP. Luckily we were able to fly into Glacier Bay National Park sooner than later. We had a zone in mind in the Fairweather Range that we'd seen from last year's first camp. That zone proved to be a little too challenging, but Jones found what we were looking for not far from there. The day after getting in and set up we were greeted with our first snowfall. A foot and a half of fresh blanketed our new world before it cleared up for six days with bomber snow stability. We slowly explored our surroundings and figured out what we wanted to accomplish and what to stay away from. Before long the crew was getting after it. The boys all stepped up their games by climbing and riding lines on a level they'd never before been to.

Haines - a good place to wait for high pressure.

Our pilot Drake Olsen & our mountain of gear.

If you're ever in Haines and need a ride into the mountains...

Drake's farewell flyby after getting us in.

An we're in! At this point we're just trying to get our heads around where we are and what we're going to do.

The coastal clouds were always a challenge.

Hoping for some clearing.

Camp wave.

Edmands getting used to the neighborhood.

Ryland's glacier style.

Our little village.

Going up to the camp lines.

Room with a view.

Tom Burt. Yeah ISM!

The glaciers were in constant motion and always had to be considered.

Jeremy & Ryland's "warmup" lines. Check Jones' pics from the slope here.


More to come...

Monday, May 3, 2010

AK Splitboard Camp

I just spent 3 weeks in Alaska working on the Deeper project. We stepped it up a level from last year's mission. Here's a couple images from our camp.

Not a bad location. More to come...