Expedition Season

| May 6, 2009 | 4 Comments

To me, expedition skiing is what it is all about.  I love the idea of using skis to explore remote areas, the sense of commitment, the fun of travel, the great partners, meeting new people along the way, hopefully ticking off some challenges and more than likely adding a few more to the To Do list. Expedition skiing is seldom about finding perfect powder (although it happens at times) and has more to do with idea of making turns in terrain where everything is one big question mark.  Will there be enough snow?  Too much?  Ice?  Too steep?  Too mellow?  You never know until you go, and when it is good, there’s nothing like it in the world.

Home sweet home at the 14,300 camp on Denali. 1995

Expedition skiing has everything and nothing to do with making actual turns.  Skiing competency is a given on big, steep peaks, but keeping your head together, enduring, and figuring out all the hundreds of little pieces of the ascent/descent/safety puzzle account for much more. Part of the appeal is that there are so many little and not so little challenges to overcome that on-the-fly improvising is essential.  As with Jazz music, you have to know how to play your instrument, but once you get a group of people together and set a general direction, great and unexpected things can happen.

Mark Holbrook topping out on Denali... with skis. The snow conditions were forgettable, but the experience itself was not.

I like going on spring ski expeditions in the northern hemisphere as I have all my equipment dialed by then, am hopefully in good shape after a season of skiing and the snowpacks are at their max and the days are getting longer and warmer.  This year I’m heading up to Alaska for three weeks in the end of May/beginning of June, so between now and then, StraightChuter.com will be focusing on my favorite topic, expeditions skiing and planning.
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Category: Expeditions

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (4)

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  1. Dun says:

    Hell yea… can’t wait.

  2. Fred says:

    Sultana ridge in the background?

  3. Andrew says:

    Could be… :)

  4. Sam says:

    Two years ago my wife and I spent two months in Tibet. My dream is to go back and ski in the Kun Lun range. Perfect terrain there, and sure to be a epic adventure.

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts!

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