The Alaska Factor 2 — Ski Touring Guidebook to Southcentral Alaska

Post by blogger | November 29, 2016      
The Alaska Factor 2, guidebook to backcountry skiing in Southcentral Alaska.

The Alaska Factor 2, guidebook to backcountry skiing in Southcentral Alaska.

“The mountains of Southcentral Alaska have the best backcountry skiing in the United States. Within an hour’s drive of Anchorage lie the Chugach, Kenai and Talkeetna Mountains. A two-hour drive and a short flight puts you in the Alaska Range. A five-hour drive and you’re at Thompson Pass. These mountains continue unbroken for thousands of miles, from Anchorage into the Coast Mountains of Canada. They are stacked with powder faces and untouched summits. Devoid of chair lifts and condos. Pristine. Wild.”
— Joe Stock, Alaska Factor 2

Joe Stock introduces the second edition of his guidebook for backcountry skiing in Southcentral Alaska with these words. He’ll convince you he’s telling the truth with 200+ pages of informative route descriptions, stunning photos and detailed topo maps.

Back in 2012, Lou reviewed Joe Stock’s impressive first edition, The Alaska Factor, read his extensive review here. His Blogness applauded the high quality publication but noted the lack of GPS data. Joe took heed. The second edition includes GPS coordinates of trailheads.

Joe also expanded the second edition with:

  • Valdez
  • Thompson Pass
  • Kodiak Island
  • Index
  • 208 pages up from 144, with more eye candy
  • Improved format
  • In total, Alaska Factor 2 covers the following, some of which (such as Turnagain) are less remote and intimidating than the usual wild Alaskana):

  • Kenai Mountains: Turnagain Pass and Summit Lake
  • Talkeetna Mountains: Hatcher Pass and Bomber Traverse
  • Western Chugach: Girdwood, Eagle River and the Eklutna Traverse
  • Chugach Front Range: Peak Three, Ptarmigan, Falls Creek and Arctic to Indian
  • Alaska Range: Ruth and Pika Glaciers
  • Thompson Pass near Valdez
  • Kodiak Island
  • precipitation gradient ranges from about 12 inches

    The arrow points to an area where ‘…precipitation gradient ranges from about 12 inches per year on the north side of the Central Chugach to 200+ inches (over 16 feet) on the coastal side of the Central Chugach, a distance of about 30 miles. It is difficult to find another place in the U.S. where maritime and continental snow climates are so close together.’ Joe Stock, The Alaska Factor 2

    Joe Stock is an internationally certified IFMGA Mountain Guide with over 30 years of climbing and skiing experience. In addition to routes, he shares his extensive knowledge of mountaineering with sections about navigation, weather, and travel tips, to name a few. Even if you don’t go to Alaska, you’ll benefit from reading Alaska Factor 2. But after thumbing through the book, chances are high that ski touring in Southcentral Alaska will be in your future.

    Alaska Factor 2 is available on Joe’s website, here.


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    10 Responses to “The Alaska Factor 2 — Ski Touring Guidebook to Southcentral Alaska”

    1. Mark Donohoe November 29th, 2016 11:51 am

      Hey, off topic, but I am thinking of getting last years Blizzard Zero G 108’s. I am 5’6″ about 150. Do these skis ski short or long or just right? I was looking at the 171’s. Thanks for the info.

    2. Rick November 29th, 2016 1:13 pm

      Anymore ( when there’s snow ) Turnagain Pass is more crowded than the ski area at Alyeska. Not rare to not be able to find a parking spot some days from the first Eddies pullout up to Johnson Pass.
      Then when/if there’s enough snow to open the Pass to snow machines the crowds noise and exhaust are way too much.

    3. Michael November 29th, 2016 4:57 pm

      Mark, I’d say they ski true to size. Certainly not short. They’re pretty traditional compared to a lot of skis nowadays. Mild amount of rocker and taper. Great ski by the way. I’m 5’10” 180 lbs, average ability ski tourer, and find the 178 just fine. I wouldn’t want to go longer at my size. 171 sounds pretty good at your size. You could bump up to 178 if you’re truly an expert who likes to ski fast all the time.

    4. Mark Donohoe November 30th, 2016 10:44 am

      Michael, thanks for the feedback, my wallet is getting thinner!

    5. Mike Soucy December 1st, 2016 2:58 pm

      Happy to see these books Lou, thanks for the review! Joe’s the man and I’m sure that both volumes are filled with great tours. Can’t wait to pick up the Valdez book for this spring’s trip

    6. Lou Dawson 2 December 1st, 2016 5:59 pm

      Thanks for the positive comment Mike. Lisa and I had a bet going on whether the first comment from AK would be a whine, or optimistic positive…. at least you balanced it out. I won the bet.


    7. Rick December 3rd, 2016 9:42 am

      Whine ?!? Nope, it’s reality ..
      2nd to last sentence under the *Primary Concern* heading ;

    8. Joe Stock December 6th, 2016 1:04 pm

      Rick, you’re skiing too low and following the masses….
      Mike, get in touch on your way through Anchorage!

    9. Rick December 6th, 2016 7:18 pm

      I’ve been skiing South Central for 35 years and definitely do not *follow the masses* – if anything I do my best to hide from them ..

    10. Joe Stock December 6th, 2016 7:36 pm

      Well then we should ski together sometime Rick! I look forward to meeting you.

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