Haines, Alaska: Jarvis-Tsirku Glacier Loop
Josh Mumm and I drove to Haines to check out Graham Kraft’s treehouse and ski some of Haines’ famous snow. We got skunked. I haven’t received any sympathy… supposedly we were due.
Josh Mumm and I drove to Haines to check out the treehouse and find some long ski lines. Weather had been warm in Anchorage, so we expected warmer, coastal conditions in Haines.
We decided on a loop up Jarvis Glacier and down Tsirku Glacier (60 miles) and planned to set up a base camp wherever the skiing looked best. We packed our packrafts expecting to be able to float the Tsirku River out to the highway.
Ten minutes into the trip, at the Jarvis Creek crossing, I slipped off the snow bank and fell face first into ankle-deep water. My pack pushed me under. I recovered, told Josh that I was blowing bubbles and suggested that he not do the same. Then I noticed that one of his boots was floating down the creek. That pretty much set the tone of the trip.
We woke up to a full whiteout. When it stopped snowing the wind started blowing. We saw multiple generations of crowns on most slopes and never considered skiing anything off the broad glaciers. Our last night was below zero. Tsirku River was too shallow to float and was clogged with slush. There was no way I was going to get in my boat in that water.
We spent a lot of time in the tent waiting for the sun to reach us each morning. We talked about motivation for these trips. I’ve been seeking challenge for several years with the expectations that great challenge provides greater reward. But what about fun? This trip wasn’t a lot of fun.
We also talked about Graham a lot. He and Lindsay have a beautiful treehouse. Their lives are full of adventure and freedom. Full of uncertainty too.
We returned to Anchorage to discover that a cold high pressure system had been stable all week, snow stability was excellent, skies were clear, the sun was hot. I was bitter.