Region: Delta Mountains - Alaska Range
Date: April 12-13, 2003
Route: Micheal Creek - Jarvis Glacier
Elevation Gain: ?'
Partner: Alaska Alpine Club
Links: Alaska Alpine Club
Day 1: After my experience last month on Triangle Peak, I decided I would change things up. I worked out, lifted weights, and knew more about what I was getting into. Like regular film cameras freeze up when the temperatures dip really low, like -20F. So I only brought my dinky 1MP digital camera. I also decided to go with snowshoes, as I heard Micheal Creek is pretty narrow, and the stream can by showing through the snow in places (and was).
Next change: sled. Of course sleds have their own caveat, and having never used one before I made a few mistakes.
Mistake 1: putting the backpack into the sled, and carrying nothing on my back. This put all the weight onto my hips and legs through the harness.
Mistake 2: Not having the sled set up properly. My friend let me borrow this sled of his own design. It had a harness and poles attached to the sled, and the poles were stiffly attached to both, to give more stability. Well, he brought the sled to work in his car, and so the poles were not set up. Apparently it takes some strength to get everything taught. Strength and dexterity are not known at morning trailheads at 0F or so. So the sled was unwieldy.
The trip up the stream was slow but nice, I had a guy watching the sled, so it wouldn't go into the open stream. But the "nice day" soon changed as some clouds came in. At our lunch break I consumed what I thought was a good meal, a drinkable yogurt. With a notoriously picky mountaineering stomach, I thought going with something I like and eat often would be good. Not so. Since the trip leader was in a rush, with the bad weather coming in, my stomach never settled after eating. So the entire way up to our camp was an ordeal of trying not to vacate the yogurt.
With the groups' slower pace, and the weather, it was decided to camp on this side of the pass. So we dug into the snow, and put up our tents. Thankfully this time, there were an appropriate number of tents for people on the trip. (Unlike Triangle) I desperately tried to eat my meal of chicken and rice, but my stomach said yuk! So I couldn't force feed myself.
Day 2: In the morning we awoke to a white out. We could barely see the neighboring tents (Photo #13). In the clouds, with no visibility. So we wait, and wonder, is this it? Do we have to call the trip? Some (military) guys on the trip want to continue on. Making a summit attempt includes going over the pass, crossing the Jarvis Glacier and navigating the crevasses, then climb the peak, and return. We had 2 GPS's, no wands, and a long way to go. After much convincing the bolder individuals in the group that there was no summit today, we head downhill. Those on skis either had a great time, or had the descent from hell. My tent mate had trouble skiing with the heavy pack on. So he decided to take off his skis and painfully post hole, all the way down... Whereas the trip leader went back up hill for seconds and was doing jumps off of the snow drifts.
Quite amusingly, the weather below was beautiful. As was the remainder of the state. From Fairbanks, you can see the mountain range we were attempting to climb, and so it was assumed by friends, that I was having a great climb. It turns out, the storm was only on Silvertip Peak.
Photos: (View Slideshow)