Too much snow...

Like last year, the Tour was during the first weekend of spring break. This timing requires a quick transition from ski racing to mountaineering. Sunday afternoon saw me totally wrecked from skiing hard for 50k, and Monday morning I was breaking trail through knee-deep snow, carrying a hefty pack of mountaineering gear. Yahoo.

Clay's friend from Michigan, Patrick the footballer (Played on the starting lineup for Michigan State) came up to visit AK for his spring break. No one yet knows how he decided that spending time camping in the cold with two smelly guys in Alaska was a better option than lounging on the beach with many beautiful women in Cancun. As it was, Clay and I already had excellent adventure plans for spring break, so Patrick got the Full Alaskan Experience.

Patrick, representing MSU

Clay, ready to slog

It's nasty out, but we're havin' fun.

Our goal was to hike from the Crow Creek trailhead up Goat Mountain to the Eagle Glacier near the Raven Headwall (gotta love the animal names for places...sounds like I made those up...) Well, when we left Anchorage, it was cloudy but pleasant. Driving South, we couldn't see the road for all the snow. Should have been a hint right there. We got to the the trailhead in a full-on blizzard, and knew right away we would never make the glacier because the avalanche conditions were abysmal. But, since we were there, and had all our stuff together, and were totally gung-ho to go play and camp in the snow, we loaded up and decided to hike up the creek valley a bit, and camp on the flats before the mountain. Breaking trail was fun, and hauling a pack wasn't too bad, and the wind was only sometimes, and you could ocassionally see through the snow to the next patch of alders to bushwhack.

Then a snow sluff (i.e. small avalanche) buried us to our belly-buttons. Yikes. A small, 12' cut in the creek valley dumped it's snow on us as we walked by. We took it as a loving slap-on-the-wrist from the mountains, and quickly retreated to the saftey of the truck. Out in a big flat field, we spent a while practicing with our fancy avalanche rescue equipment to pay penance for tresspassing against the snow and mountain gods. A couple hours after we drove back to Anchorage, an epic avalanche covered the highway, closing the only road South for a day. We all agreed to stay inside reading books the next time it snows that hard.