Words and photos by Cody Booth
So, after a long haul on the AlCan highway from the lower 48 up to Alaska- leaving my pick-up with blown out shocks and a pocket hurting from gas prices- we finally made it to the last frontier. Prior to crossing the boarder a brief pit stop was made in Canada at a remote hot spring oasis where we were able to soak away our troubles for a moment in some natural springs. So far my buddy Nick has put up with my antics and stuck around road tripping along for the last few months. After scoring a few tickets to Alyeska and doing some urban riding in the Anchorage, it was time to push on over to some real mountains; mountains which helped shape my whole dream-like image of Alaska and what big mountain riding is.
|Skinning along some wolverine prints|
Once seeing the Chugach range outside of Valdez and the limitless possibilities it possessed, I knew we found everything we were looking for. For now, our method of choice to access these lines will be via splitboards as we get a feel for the snowpack and terrain. Later, snowmachines and heli ops will be at our disposal- simply waiting on our wallets. The terrain here is big. Up in the alpine you have steep lines filled with high exposure, which feeds into rolling glacial terrain, before finally reaching a complex tree line down low. Runs can reach up to 5,000 ft of vertical.
|Morgan hiking the ridge|
It’s been great though to link up with fellow Homeschool rider Morgan Hebert and tour these big mountains, exploring terrain. Along with Morgan and some of his Alaskan friends, we have been having a blast car/tent camping on Thompson Pass during Tailgate festivals. We've set up camp with some other rubber tramps and have been hosting fires and cheer to our neighbors while being amazed by the spontaneity of the Northern Lights. So far, weather has been on our side, and new riding objectives keep filling our lists... However, a storm lurks around the corner and we’ll see what’s in store.
|Morgan getting some|
|Raising of the Camp Flag|