Alaska Seminar: Mallory and Team Back in Talkeetna

Posted by: Linden Mallory, Pete Van Deventer | May 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

More clouds filled the Ruth Amphitheater this morning when we woke up to check the weather and give a report to the pilot. The mist and low hanging clouds meant no flying this morning but it did give us the opportunity to have a relaxing morning cooking up breakfast in camp and then heading out for some ski touring nearby. This little weather system passing through the Alaska Range brought us a few inches of fresh snow and we found great turns on the slopes nearby. We spent a few hours making laps, forgetting about the weather and immersing ourselves in the simple joy of sliding downhill on skis.

By early afternoon the clouds looked as if they were beginning to thin and we headed back to camp to pack out the runway for the plane and get our gear in order should the weather break enough for a flight to get in. By the time we finished the clouds were still lifting - albeit slowly - and we entered the waiting game, exerting whatever futile will power we could muster to clear the skies while passing the time telling stories, sharing jokes, and even building a little jump in camp to catch some air on skis.

By 5:30 in the evening the views across the Amphitheater were clear and we got the go ahead that a plane was on its way. Shortly thereafter a red Otter poked over the ridge lines above us, made a few sweeping turns above the glacier and came into land. We hauled all of our gear over to the waiting plane, piled everything in and were soon airborne, flying low over the glacier we walked yesterday morning. We buzzed right down the Ruth Gorge, staying low as the summits of the surrounding peaks were still covered in clouds and followed the winding track of the Ruth Glacier out of the mountains and back into the Alaska foothills. The riot of green spring buds covering the forest tops, intersected by rivers still carrying winter ice, was a little bit of a shock after being in a world of ice, snow, and rock for the better part of the past week and the air gradually felt warmer as we neared Talkeetna.

We landed in Talkeetna and swapped our ski boots for flip flops, our soft shells for jeans (after a nice long shower), and are headed out for dinner. Despite the unpredictable weather, it’s been a fun week of adventuring in the Alaska Range.

- RMI Guide Linden Mallory & Team

The Alaska Mountaineering Seminar May 2nd team.  Photo: Linden Mallory

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