Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Burns Glacier

Today was the second day in a row with clear blue sky.  Around this time of year, it's possible to get caught off guard the first blue-sky day.  You find yourself in your office or in your school books, asking yourself "Why am I not out skiing right now?"  On the second day, you have no excuse.  So Lasse, Lutz, Davis and I went skiing today. 

Portage Lake seemed like a good place to start the Spring Ski Season, which officially starts on April 1 and traditionally goes until around June 1, though it can go longer when the conditions are right.  This might be one of those years when conditions are right.

Driving down Turnagain Arm at 7:00 AM, we were optimistic about the conditions.  That's our destination in the center background; the ocean in the center foreground. (If you click on the pictures, they get bigger.)

After about 1 hour of driving - the (obvious) end of the road:

Portage Lake.  This is our only photo of Davis.  He's one of the specks in the distance.  Like a Lab puppy, he jumped out of the car and was gone before we got a chance to say goodbye - headed toward Whittier.

At the end of Portage Lake, Burns Glacier was looking irresistable, so we started climbing off the lake.  Destination:  Prince William Sound.

About halfway up the glacier, the sun shone on us for the first time today:

Lutz Klausmann:

As we ascended, the snow started getting softer:

The top of Burns Glacier, around 2,500 feet above sea level.  Our starting point was 150 feet above sea level. 

I thought we were going to lose Lasse into Blackstone Bay.  This photo may make it look windy.  But the reality was much windier. You can see my ski pole at the bottom of the picture.  I wasn't holding it that way.  The wind was blowing it that way.

Blackstone Bay, Blackstone (tidewater) Glacier in the background.

The descent to Portage Lake.  Lutz had the quote of the day on the way up, "I feel like a cat that has climbed a tree and doesn't know how he's going to get back down."  But it turned out to be pretty easy to get down after all.

Portage Glacier.  The ice chunks in the foreground are from the calving glacier, falling down and exploding ice across the lake.

Byron Peak.

10:30 AM.  One last look before heading back to work / school.  That's Burns Glacier in the center, and Bard Peak on the center left.

You can hear/see a nice interview with Lasse on Burns Glacier here: http://youtu.be/zvc_BTPxEzY 

I have the feeling there are going to be a lot of these trips this spring...

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