2005
Feb 20
van1

The world’s largest mountain (Mt Logan) on the left, and the double summit of McArthur on the right.

All photos were taken with Fuji Provia slide film. Consequently, most photos are unedited. I was using a Nikon FM2 camera and Ptor was using a little Minox. Thanks for the photos Ptor.

This season certainly hasn’t been memorable for the right reasons. But it’s these low years that make you truly appreciate the glory of previous years.  This lack of snow reminds me of the 2005 season.  I might have skied 5 times that season before fate had me in Golden in early April.  Walking into my friend Nevada’s house, I was immediately nervous of her dinner guest who had a certain ‘presence’ (to put it mildly). Introductions were soon underway and my suspicions were correct.  The mystery man was none other than Ptor Spricenieks. After some time the conversation settled on Mt. Logan, and Nevada’s bid to solo the East Ridge and place an important Tibetan Peace Vase high on the mountain.  With mischief in her eyes she asked, ”Why don’t we all fly in together and the two of you can ski some peaks together.” Neither Ptor nor I had visited the range and were instantly hooked.  I’ll always remember Ptor’s next words as his eyes bore through my very soul, “Can you ski?”  I had just finished a year of skiing 6000 and 7000m peaks in the Himalaya, often solo, so yes I was pretty sure I could ski. Luckily Nevada saved me from an embarrassing explanation of my skills and assured Ptor that I was capable.  I don’t remember much else from that surreal night, but we agreed to meet back in Golden in a month’s time.

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Jan 08

A subsidiary peak of Mount Logan (Canada’s Highest Peak (19,551ft) and Earth’s largest mountain), McArthur is situated in the St.Elias Range of the Yukon. Peaks like McArthur are so dwarfed by Logan’s massiveness, that all sense of scale is lost. Lines that look small, would be considered huge anywhere else in the World. The first ascent was in 1961 via the North Ridge. In 2005, Ptor Spricenieks and I chose this line for our attempted first ski descent of the mountain. Memories have faded, but I believe that we began with an early afternoon start and we’re back at maybe 5 am. Day light lasted until we reached the summit at midnight, and the sun slowly began to rise around 3am. We skied without headlamps at the darkest hour, but we definitely took our time negotiating the various cruxes. The visual highlight, was the ‘greatest sunset of all time’ due to forest fires raging in Alaska. Here are some pics.

The line

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