Friday, December 24, 2010

Getting snow observations

Just a couple choice shots from some good field days.

Mountain transportation.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Getting to know the intimate details of the snowpack in Chugach National Forest.
 Very large surface hoar crystals growing in a humid environment
 Glide avalanche and glide crack in Turnagain
Density changes in the upper layers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Denali season 2010

Mark and Jessie on the summit

Well, the climbing season is finally winding down.  I have one more week of work before the federal government cuts me loose for the season.  It’s a great time to compile the photos from the year and reflect back on the season.  As usual it was full of new and unique experiences. 

I had the privilege of doing the first operational short-haul with our new helicopter, pilot, and management structure.  We now use an A-star B3 contracted from Temsco helicopters.  Our pilot Andy has been awesome to work with, and is always game to try something new as long as it’s safe.   A couple times this year I got the call:  “Kevin, we’ve got an incident, 3AE is headed your way to pick you up and head direct to the scene.”  Those are the exciting days on the job.  Unfortunately in those cases the climbers didn’t have a chance of rescue and died from injuries.  Denali is one of those environments where you have to get extremely lucky to survive a major mistake.  Too often we find that our best efforts as rescuers are not good enough.

On a lighter note, my team made it to the summit on the best day I’ve yet seen at 20,000 feet.  It was completely calm and actually warm on summit day.  I was wearing softshell clothing and the lightest layers I had with me.  On the summit ridge we peered down the south face to find our friends and fellow rangers Mark and Jessie coming up to finish the fifth ascent of the Slovak Direct.  We all ran to the top together to enjoy the perfect weather and unparalleled view. 

All in all it was an incredible season. 

I posted a mix of pictures here:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Rigging training in the Ruth

Words can't do it justice.

Brandon attending the patient on a multi-pitch lowering exercise.

The Sheldon Mountain House.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ski run of the year

Cody and I took advantage of perfect conditions to ski the north face of Pioneer peak.  I didn't think it was possible to have snow this good from 6400 feet to sea level.  The miracle of the internet meant that other skiers also knew of the conditions from a first hand account a few days previous.  We shared the route with two other groups, probably a first in the history of this mountain.  We can't complain.  It was the absolutely the best ski run of the year. 

Cody topping out.

The upper 4000 feet looms above.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Alyeska 09-10

It's always a little bittersweet this time of year to be leaving Alyeska and moving on to summer work.  I move to my office in Talkeetna while the patrollers I leave behind enjoy the best skiing of the year.  The season for me ended on a high note with superb skiing off the headwall and everything open to both boundaries.

Geoff Jans ripping slowboy 1

Andy Dietrick in Silver bowl

Friday, February 12, 2010

Go Alaska! Vancouver 2010

Holly Brooks

James Southam


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alaska Range Aerials

I joined my Dad on a photography assignment for Conoco Phillips Shared Services aviation department.  We photographed two 737 jets from a smaller jet with the Alaska range as the backdrop.  It was an incredibly unique experience, something I will never forget.  The pics turned out pretty good too.