Haines Basecamp Glacier Skiing – days 4-6

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 5, 2013      

Our Haines ski basecamp trip is coming to a close. School officially started two days ago. I’m stretching out my spring break as long as I can, by playing hookey for a few days. As I sit in my tent, the walls are quivering from 40mph gusts of wind.

Skiing next to beautiful seracs in low angled powder.

Skiing next to beautiful seracs in low angled powder.

If the weather holds, we are going to fly out Friday afternoon. The last few days have been clear weather, so I’ve been skiing hard, and haven’t spent much time in front of the screen, so blog posts are a little behind. I’ll be filing a few more trip reports in the next few days, detailing the last days of the trip.

After the first sunny days of the trip, our camp became socked in for a few days. The storm was mellow, although we stayed away from skiing because of the whiteout.

During a small break in the storm we took a extended exploratory tour of some areas that we hadn’t checked out yet. We climbed towards a small ridge above camp, but were turned around by a touchy windslab. Cutting our losses, we enjoyed some great pow turns next to seracs back towards camp.

After lunch, we turned up the glacier, and headed toward the peaks at the head of the basin. We climbed next to more beautifull seracs, and into a small basin ringed with spires, reminiscent of the Frey valley in Argentina. Clouds were moving in and out, but in one of the breaks we spied an impressive pinnacle to the south, across a massive valley glacier. The steep north face begged to be skied. We filed it away in our minds along with all the other amazing runs we’ve seen this trip. Next to the pinnacle was a large, more low angled summit, that appeared to be one of the highest peaks in our little area.

Storm day breakfast  involves a lot of bacon. Our cushy camp setup (really just glorified car camping), makes sitting out storm days pretty nice.

Storm day breakfast involves a lot of bacon. Our cushy camp setup (really just glorified car camping), makes sitting out storm days pretty nice.

Coop and Tyler playing a game of mini-Settlers of Catan. Coop might be going a little crazy.

Coop and Tyler playing a game of mini-Settlers of Catan. Coop might be going a little crazy.

The beautiful pinnacle run we spied, with another seductive  peak behind it.

The beautiful pinnacle run we spied, with another seductive peak behind it.

Hanging out at the top of the Couloir, in increasingly flat light.

Hanging out at the top of the Couloir, in increasingly flat light.

After stopping for views and lunch, we continued up to the ridge ringing the cirque. We climbed a short, tight couloir, that reached the top of the ridge. Peering over the edge, we spied even more impressive mountains and glaciers — endless! The clouds were moving in so we skied the couloir, found our way through flat light on the glacier, and made it back to camp.

The next day dawned stormy and cloudy with a fair amount of snow accumulation. The weather report indicated the storm would last for a few days, hopefully breaking so we could fly out. We stayed up late in the cozy cook tent, swapping stories and dreaming about future trips.


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12 Responses to “Haines Basecamp Glacier Skiing – days 4-6”

  1. Lee Lau April 5th, 2013 11:02 am

    At least my down jacket made it to Haines.

  2. Lou Dawson April 5th, 2013 11:03 am

    I know the feeling Lee, I think one of mine is there as well (grin). Dang.

  3. Jack April 5th, 2013 3:42 pm

    Louie – I feel the tension in the last shot. Preparing to drop in, chasing the dwindling light, but too savvy to rush. Awesome.

  4. Matt Kinney April 5th, 2013 9:49 pm

    That tiny, spiny pinnacle will linger like bait for a long time. You’ll be back. Great reports and glad you had some solid days in isolation and quiet.

  5. Samuel Savard April 6th, 2013 10:10 am

    Awesome pictures! Looks like you guys had fun during the storm…. I like that there’s a few bottles of boose in your little snow hut, keeping warm I guess lol

  6. Tyler Wilkes April 6th, 2013 3:53 pm

    The jacket kept me toasty warm the whole trip Lee!

  7. Lou Dawson April 6th, 2013 5:18 pm

    Hey Tyler, welcome back to civilization, congrats on a well executed trip! Lou

  8. Coop April 7th, 2013 8:58 am

    Since we are throwing out puffy jacket appreciations. Lou, I don’t know where I would have been without that North Face parka. Maybe hobbling around inside my sleeping bag around camp? Seems sketchy…

  9. skier April 7th, 2013 10:09 am

    Great trip!
    I would love to see some of those pictures posted in (downloadable) hi res format for wallpaper on my computer

  10. Lou Dawson April 7th, 2013 12:14 pm

    Coop, glad you got some use out of the big TNF. They’re perfect for glacier camping that’s for sure. Did you wear the sleeveless T-shirt and gold chains underneath so you’d fit in anywhere in the world? Lou

  11. Tyler Wilkes April 8th, 2013 10:12 am

    Thanks Lou! Somehow the lot of us managed to pull it together and things went smoothly, thanks to some help from the Alaskans. I am going to start putting together a video from the trip this week and I will do a blog to go along with it about my experience on the trip and send it your way.

  12. kevin April 8th, 2013 12:57 pm

    Settlers?!! Awesome. Very smart gear choice. That – and the whiskey – makes a storm day fly by.

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