Day 23: Skiing on the summer solstice

Skiing on the summer solstice last week proved both successful and exhausting. After scouting the terrain the day prior, we headed to what the locals call “Peak Three” in the Chugach State Park right outside Anchorage. It was about 75 degrees out, and likely hotter in direct sunlight—needless to say, we loaded up on Aloe Up and began our trek. We knew there would be hiking involved until we got to the snowfield, but I don’t think either of us anticipated the feeling of carrying a 55-pound pack uphill for an extended period of time—in heat, no less. Once we got on snow, it felt amazing to put on boots, skis and skins and lighten up that load!

… and then five minutes after getting on the first patch of snow, we had to take the skis off and bushwhack our way to the top because the snow fields didn’t connect. Once on the main snowfield of Peak Three, we skinned most of the way up, until the pitch exceeded 40 degrees and the sun-cupped snow was too slippery to skin on without crampons. We boot-packed up the side, smashing blue berries as we went which left purple smudges on our boots.

While bushwhacking, in the spirit of Brittany (who loves all things nature), I had to stop and take a photo of this plant—isn’t it beautiful?

Sean, boot packing up the mountain (in shorts—it was HOT without shade!)…

Ice axe in hand for any sudden slips on the sun cups…

Trying to be graceful on sun cups…

 

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