Skiing Pika Glacier

By Col

We were delighted to get on board and support SidetrackedMagazine with their Adventure Fund this year. Earlier this year the recipients of the 2014 fund Ian and Spencer headed deep into the remote Pika Glacier in Alaska for some ski mountaineering.

Here's just a brief extract and some pictures to whet your appitite. We are already looking forward to seeing what next years award will reveal. You can also read the full report and enjoy some more awesome photos over on theSidetracked website.

"It’s 12:30pm on a Thursday. A week ago, I was finishing my 8 hour board exam for medical school, and now I’m in the middle of a near-whiteout on a granite wall towering over the Pika Glacier, deep in the Alaska Range. Fog moves in and out, providing glimpses of the glacier in the distance and the rocky peaks a mile away. As Ian tiptoes his way in ski boots up the granite crack above the ledge I’m standing on, cascades of snow rumble down the couloir 50 feet to our right.

The fog amplifies the sound so it sounds more like a big wave crashing than snow sliding. Shrouding our views, the fog also creates spatial ambiguity. Where exactly are these slides being released from and where are they going? Are we in the slide path? As if mocking us, another deep rumble of snow starts cascading over the granite wall a few hundred feet to our left. This one rockets over hundreds of feet of overhanging granite, the fresh Alaskan snow slowly dissipating into the foggy air below. As Ian kicks his way over the first 20 foot feature of this rock pitch, I consider – not for the first time this week – how flying into this remote mountain range in a distant corner of the planet has at once inspired my sense of adventure and, at the same time, reinstated the sense of humility I find in the mountains."

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published