Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ptarmigan Couloir Workout

Adventure beckoned. My friend Todd was back in town and we elected to do something big. The verdict was the Ptarmigan Couloir. A couloir is a narrow gully with a steep gradient in mountainous terrain. Despite recent snowfall and looming bad weather, we decided to adventure out and give the couloir our best effort. Todd and I have been doing backcountry runs and climbs for several years now, so our collaborative judgment is refined and always geared towards making sure we have the opportunity for future climbs and adventures. Today was no exception. With continual analysis and dialogue, we carefully made our way up the steep couloir. Our gear consisted of running shoes and an ice-ax. I wore a helmet for style. We had crampons, but didn't need to use them. Given the the depth and condition of the snow, mountain snowshoes would have been ideal.

Todd and I budgeted 5 hours for the adventure. I could have done without the 8 miles of running in snow, but I guess that is part of the journey. As we made our way farther up the couloir, the angle steepened and the snow deepened to a point that we decided to call it a great day and head back down. We were running low on time and estimated at least another hour to the summit. Despite all the factors, Todd and I made it up 75% of the couloir. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

You are invited to live vicariously through our adventure. Enjoy and be safe :)

















During the run back to the trailhead, three bull moose were hanging out. This is an awesome site to see even for Alaskans!