NOLS Alaska Mountaineering – Day 17

7/5/09

Hey!

Sorry I didn’t write yesterday; I had to get to bed super early, and write my letter home.

Yesterday was cool, because we chilled out all morning, and then did crevasse rescue training in a real crevasse! Some 4th of July! It was really fun, and my instructors said we all did really well! My favorite part was jumping into the crevasse, since I knew I was anchored by my team and a snow anchor, and the jump was such a thrill.

Hanging inside the crevasse was unimaginably BEAUTIFUL, and the blue of the ice seemed unreal. Also the icicles were several feet long, and the whole things was full of tunnels and mini crevasses near the bottom. I loved it and took tons of pictures! My harness dug into my hips which was a bit uncomfortable, but oh well.

My original plan was to rest this morning, but I had had two days of rest, so I decided to get out some energy. Geoff and I would each lead climbs today.

I woke up at 4:50am so Geoff and I could go talk to Kai about this morning’s peak ascent. After deciding the weather was good and the snow was firm enough, we made rope teams and got ready to go. The whole group didn’t come with us though, four students and an instructor stayed behind to do the re-ration, and the rest of the group split in two, half plus an instructor with Geoff, and half plus an instructor with me. My team had Jaime as an instructor, and we climbed the nearby mountain deemed “Lassie’s Fang” by Andy. It really looked like it too! The other group went up the basin to find a good mountain to climb, but ended up just going for a scenic walk instead.

So we left at 6:45 and started our ascent up the fang, and I loved it! We made great time up the base of the mountain, and once it got steep we took off our snowshoes and put on crampons. We had to go slower after that since I had to kick in each step going up the mountain. It was hard work, but three kinda scary hours later, we arrived at the summit. What a feeling! It was awesome!

After hanging out at the top, we began our descent led by the person on the end of my team, Jake. We got back down quickly, and at the steep part at the foot of the mountain we glacaded. Pretty much it’s sledding on your butt down the mountain, and it was exhilarating. Also I went really fast since I was the lightest of our group.

Once we got back to camp we learned about avalanches and how to use our avalanche transceivers. Then we made new tent groups for the new set of rations. My new tent group is Jake, John and Eric. They’re all really nice, so I’m excited to tent with them. Our re-ration looks good too, and with all of the leftover food from the last ration I’m a happy camper =).

Well that’s it for the night. There’s a pretty big storm rumbling in the distance, but it’s going around us so I’m not scared. The only thing is there are a lot of forest fires from the storms, so those last four days in the tundra might be scary. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Tomorrow we hike four miles down the glacier, and will camp nearby Meteor mountain. It won’t be hard being downhill, so I’m happy. Also we don’t move out until 7:30, so I will be able to get up at my usual 5:30 and be fine. Yay!

Well that’s it for tonight. I’m excited to share my adventure when I get home!
~Fia

<- DAY 15    ||    DAY 18 ->

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