Confusion consumed my mind, and I couldn’t shake off the feeling of dis-ease as we sat on our sleds on the icefield. We’d been trudging through the snow for 27 days, making our slow progress across North America’s biggest glaciers—and the biggest non-polar ice cap in the world. What had begun as a harrowing ascent up razor-sharp ice-fins 130 miles before on the Kaskawulsh glacier, had become my weird, beautiful and surreal home in the Yukon for the last month. Life on the icefield had been nothing short of spectacular. Though exhausting and hard, it was a world that fueled body and soul. Was I really ready to leave? I knew Jon wasn’t. Continue reading ALCAN TO OCEAN ICECAP EXPEDITION: Homeward bound
Sixty-one, sixty-two, sixty-three. Gasping, I counted our ski-steps up the massive wall of snow, pausing to rest at the sixty-third, one ski facing up the mountain and the other planted firmly behind, keeping the weight of our sleds from dragging us down the mountainside. The harness creaked with the 150 lb. sled held on by two straps at my hips. A colossal bank of snow looming overhead grew larger as we toiled upward, its fake summits causing a sigh every few hundred feet. Shadowy indentations and undulations marked crevasses threatening to swallow us up—or gulp us down—at the base of the pass. Continue reading Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: The 100th mile
If the Greeks ever sculpted statues of athletic women, Lynne would have been their muse. She meticulously applied sunblock to her alabaster skin, standing sleek and strong in the snow. She looked built for this, her finely chiseled but feminine arms enviable and each movement made with grace and purpose.
I peed my pants that morning. If it hadn’t been so funny, it would have been pretty embarrassing. Continue reading Alcan to Ocean Expedition: Onward ho, cheesemongers!
The 3:30am night air bit into our exposed skin as we dismantled camp and prepared for the long ascent of a 15 mile day. Lynne would be dropped off at 5,500 feet, where the snow was more stable. Just the day before, Jim had punched through a very well-hidden crevasse while we traveled unroped, incredibly lucky it hadn’t been wider. To avoid the hazards of that section, and to meet Lynne before nightfall, we caught a few hours sleep before waking up for the big push. Continue reading Alcan to Ocean Icecap Expedition: Alone on the Kaskawulsh
This series was called Ocean to Alcan, but we’ve switched directions, so don’t be confused. Our 250+ mile ski traverse expedition from the Yukon to Alaska- across the Kaskawulsh, Hubbard, Seward, Columbus glaciers of the Kluane National Park, the Bagley Icefield and out the Bering glacier of Alaska- is upon us. Our bags are packed, and we’re just a few hours away from our meeting with the US border people at Dalton Cache, AK to get pre-clearance to do a wilderness crossing in the high mountains of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It’s extremely difficult to get these types of pre-clearances these days, and we’re very lucky!
This is my only (near) real time entry for this expedition (written at 7am on May 6), as we set out on the trail tomorrow morning. We’ll hopefully be half way up the Kaskawulsh glacier here in the Yukon when you read this, but you can see if I’m right. Follow our GPS tracks by ‘liking’ this page:
A little video of the pack and a few last minute details. See you soon!