Monday, May 16, 2011

Big Season in the Alaska Range!

The Mighty West Face of Mount Huntington as seen from camp.
I arrived back in the Alaska Range for my 11th spring season in a row. The Alaska Range has changed my life in many beautiful ways. In 1998 I saw the the AK Range up close and personal for the first time. I was 18 and from that day on I was a climber and I planned on making a living as a guide. Two goals that's it. Those two goals led me to this amazing life of climbing and guiding not only in the AK Range, but all over the place. After so many great trips and all the inspiring people out here, I can not imagine not coming back.
Denali towering above the Silverthrone ice fall in the Ruth Amphitheater.
This year I started by guiding a private trip with Sean Russell on 5/1-5/12. Our intention was to climb the west face coliour of Mount Huntington. We climbed up on the west face only to be stopped in our tracks with a thin, unsupportable, snow pack upon slabs below great looking ice. This is the result of an extremely dry and cold winter/spring here in Alaska. So we bailed. I then used a little knowledge, creativity, and luck and the next thing I knew we skied out to the south face of Kahiltna Queen (12,380ft). The Queen is a significant peak steep from all sides and has a triple divide summit with glaciers flowing to the Kahiltna, Ruth, and Tokositna glaciers. The South Face has been unnoticed for years with the neighboring Hunter and Huntington catching all the focus. We climbed one of two really, great climbs on one the most overlooked faces in the central Alaska Range. This was the second ascent of the route and a Great Adventure. I would grade the route V 5.6 AI 4 60º Snow.
Sean at the Begshrund on Mt. Huntington's west face.
Sean climbed really well and we made it to camp in 21hrs rigging over 20 rappels on the descent. We could not find one piece of gear in the entire 3,000' route. It was a great adventure with mixed weather conditions... anything from bitter cold, sun, wind, snow, and complete whiteout. We were stopped from traversing the last 200' of elevation due to zero visibility and a cornice ridge. This was the perfect climb in great conditions in an unreal setting. I would be siked to climb it again or better yet the other route to the west. My 94 year old grandmother passed away the day we were climbing making the Queen seem also fitting for this adventure in the AK Range. This ones for you grams!

We climbed the obvious line in the middle of the Face. Kahiltna Queen is beautiful.
Looking up the face in the early morning light. 3,000ft of golden granite.
Sean topping out on a fun mixed pitch on the lower route.

Granite gear with steep snow and ice. The black speck in the glacier upper right is our camp.
Weather was changing by the minute...most of my pictures are in the rare good light moments.
Pitch 20 something. We were able to simul climb 50% of this route. Good speed and good times.
View before the snow and white out rolled in a few pitches from the top. That is Pk 11,520 behind use. Coley Gentzel and I got the First Ascent of this peak in 2005 via a route named The Flame.

Last pitches and the last picture of the this point all I could think about was the 3,000'descent with little ice and a small rock rack.

Stay tuned to Facebook and follow our Denali Expedition with Team Norge on skis. We will fly in May 19th and I'm packing food and gear for the next few days. Happy days in the hills, Seth.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ski Guiding at its Best in the Lofoten Islands!

The last week we have had some Amazing conditions for skiing here in Lofoten and allot of guests out skiing with us. It is hard to describe how good it was without over using words such as amazing or fantastic.... so we are going to let these pictures speak for themselves.  Book now for 2012! 
Time to pack up for some more ski guiding in the worlds most beautiful islands.
Alpine Cheers!  Seth

Skiing Powder to the beach in Lofoten

Presten Coulior

Some of our guests heading up to Trollsaddle.

Light and Dry POWDER to the fjord off Geitgaljen!

It doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amazing Skiing and a Great Avalanche Course again in Lofoten!

We just wrapped up another great Avalanche Course/Skredkurs out of the Kabelvåg Hotell this weekend (19-20 Feb.) Our snow pack here in the Lofoten Islands has settled out in the last week and we have had allot of new snow making for great skiing conditions. Add in sunshine and a crew of very experienced skiers with the drive to learn more about traveling safely in avalanche terrain.... making for a great experience for all. See for yourself in the pictures below!
Have you booked your ski adventure in Lofoten for this season? We have some great weekends still available in March and Early April for skiing with Northern Alpine Guides. The Hotel is looking great this year and our staff is top notch. Do miss your chance to ski in Lofoten this winter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ski Guiding and Avalanche Courses in Lofoten, February 2011

We have had an amazing start to our ski guiding season here in Lofoten.  This year we have been blessed with deep snow pack since November.  The standard rise and fall of temperatures has given us a great base of snow and is setting us up for another amazing March and April in Northern Norway. 

Over the last week we have had allot of new snow followed by strong winds building up an unstable wind slab in the upper 30cm of the snow pack.  This wind slab offers the perfect conditions for learning more about Avalanche mechanics, forecasting, and the skills necessary to travel safely in avalanche terrain.  Last weekend we had a great Avalanche course and we will hold another course this weekend (Feb. 19-20).  There is still two places available on the course so please contact us as soon as possible if you interested in sharpening you avalanche awareness skills.

In our weekend avalanche courses we focus on practical skills to prepare, evaluate, and manage avalanche risk.  We spend 80% of or time in the mountain in backcountry terrain allowing you time to practice and your decision making skills.  Whether you're new to backcountry skiing or a seasoned veteran this course is a great way to touch up you skills before the heart of the winter sets in here in Northern Norway.  Join us in the Magical Islands this winter for an Avalanche Course or some private ski guiding!

Stay Tuned for more updates on our ski guiding program here in Lofoten.

Enjoy the pictures from our final day this last Avalanche Course: