The Alaska Alpine Adventures staff was out of the office last week, working in Lake Clark to improve our home base there. As we have revised our food and gear packing systems over the years, we have realized that more space will lead to greater efficiency, and thus more time to enjoy the wilderness. To accommodate the growth, we opted to build a bunkhouse for our guides, separate from the operations of the house. This new building, affectionately labeled the shack, stands mightily at 16' to the peak, and covers 12x24 feet of earth. With 2 lofts, there should be plenty of room for us to stretch our legs and relax before and after our adventures.
The real crux concerning the build began with a charter flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth. Needless to say, the USPS was not interested in mailing our 13,000 lbs. of building materials. We chartered a DC-6, and set off to find people to fill the rest of the airplane to capacity. Mt. Redoubt decided to throw its hand in the mix, grounding our airplane on the tarmack. We were able to get the materials eventually, and after laying 1000 square feet of maple laminate in the house, we proceeded to build the new shack. We were able to get fairly close to completion before returning to Anchorage, and will head out one last time before the season starts to install windows, hang the front door, and move in.
As a few people know, we gave in to an offer for some Super Cub skiing above the Tuxedni Glacier. We worked until 5 PM that evening and quickly grabbed our gear, turned on our beacons, and jumped in the planes. Within 35 minutes we were stepping into our bindings in knee deep snow, ready to carve into the untracked powder.
With Mt. Redoubt and Iliamna as our witnesses, we skied close to 10,000 vertical feet in roughly 3 hours. It was a once in a lifetime experience that left us satisfied as only skiing untracked lines can. Working 12 hour days the rest of the week didn't seem so bad.
Feel free to stop over at the new shack this summer, or drop in the house and check out the new laminate; there's bound to be cold beer and plenty of good stories inside.