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.

Trisku Peak
Trisku Peak
Josh Mumm, Buckwell Haze
Josh Mumm, Buckwell Glacier Haze
Buckwell Glacier
Buckwell Glacier
Tsirku Ridge
Tsirku Ridge
Tsirku Neighbor
Tsirku Neighbor
Flutes
Flutes
Crowns
Crowns
View down Tsirku Glacier
View down Tsirku Glacier
Tsirku Flanks
Tsirku Valley Flank
Josh Mumm, Tsiku Skate
Josh Mumm, Tsiku Skate
Josh Mumm, Tsirku River
Josh Mumm, Tsirku River
Tsirku Valley
Tsirku Valley Floor
Jarvis Creek
Jarvis Creek
Graham and Lindsay's Treehouse
Graham and Lindsay’s Treehouse
Treehouse Rigging
Treehouse Rigging
Graham's View
Graham’s View

Graham Kraft and Lyndsay Johnson (from the Logan Traverse) were sailing this fall and got stuck in Haines. They bought 4 acres of land and built a treehouse! I have been anxious to see the house, curious if it looked more like his skis or packing style.

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.

10 Comments

  1. Everyone has a trip like that now and then, Luc. It’s healthy for the mind and keeps you honest that you can’t just go out there and make it happen.
    Challenge, reward, & fun? You have to pick the priority, as rarely do you honestly get all three. Like the start of the Logan Traverse when we were all soaked – it was all rewarding, but not fun. The extreme cold of the Interior is the same for me.
    I’ve come to realize both of these things, too, and am now solely focusing on what’s fun, with some challenge & reward mixed in. I hope you too find that balance. It’s a never-ending search and trip planning quest.
    Don’t forget the high-quality time spent with great friends. It often gets over-shadowed by the ‘failure’ of trips.
    I’m happy for Graham and Lindsay; they are wonderful people.
    Nice write-up and video, as always!

  2. Awesome images regardless, dude. I love the jarvis creek photo with the pillows and Josh in the haze. Nice vid too. At least you are out there getting skunked and not at home sick on the computer getting skunked;)

  3. While the high pressure outflows were hammering you guys, the cold condtions had locked up the sled trails for primo fatbiking up here in the Yukon.

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