Skiing Flute Peak in the Western Chugach Mountains
Skiing in the Western Chugach all leads up to May. The snow becomes stable and darkness never happens. Over the past couple weeks we’ve hit the impeccable Korohusk Chutes, an 18-hour, 13,000-foot day on the Rumble Chute and the White Lice Chute. With fluffy snow still lingering on high north faces, Cathy and I headed into the Chugach behind Anchorage. We stashed a car at the Eagle River Nature Center and began walking from the South Fork of Eagle River. Our plan, to ski the Flute and Organ Glaciers and search for skiable faces along the way. And not get eaten by a bear.
We’d been seeing black bears and and grizz with cubs for several weeks. They’re hungry this time of year and fiercely protective of their young. Guns are the best bear defense, if you know how to shoot them. We brought fireworks instead. Cathy can shoot a gun, but I’d probably have to carry the 10-pound thing. If a bear charged I’d surely miss and shoot my foot instead.
We walked and skied 10 hours up to a quiet camp on the Flute Glacier and slept for 11 hours. Getting out of the tent is difficult when I’m spooning with Cathy in our double-wide sleeping bag. But we managed to head out and find some great lines on the Flute and Organ glaciers. Check out photos from our trip below!
Cathy booting up the north face of Flute Peak.
Cathy near the summit of Flute Peak. We brought a 200-foot 5.5 mm Dyneema rope and doubled it up to climb the summit pitch.
Cathy skiing amazing dry snow on the 45-degree drift on Flute Peak.
Cathy loves bushwacking, especially in old-growth Devil’s Club forest (joke). These prickers hurt going in, but the pain goes away, until a week later when they become a gnarly zit. I made up for it by carrying her across Eagle River.