After a quick rejuvenating visit back home to Crested Butte, I am back in Valdez and again psyched for the bipolar world of helicopter ski slavery. Back home in CB, a couple of days of lung burning touring reminding me that I have been at sea level without really any uphill travel for over six-weeks. More importantly I got to spend time with the two most significant beings in my life, Sarah and Louis the black…  I thought I’d fill you in quickly on what’s been going on.

After my Sixth flight in as many days, and a planned bivouac in the Anchorage airport on Easter Sunday (in case you are curious, to bivy in the ANC airport is only slightly better than being be-nighted in the mountains).

I’ve been back in the ‘Deez for a few days now, and I’m glad to report that moral is high as blue skies are here and I’ve had two stellar ski days in a row. Yesterday I led a group of four skiers in the Wortman’s Glacier area and skied ten runs totaling nearly 30,000 vertical feet for the day, It was a stellar reminder of how good it is when we’re flying out here.

 Today was my day off, and although I’ve taken more than my fair share in the past few weeks, and plan on even more in the next few weeks, I went for it. Some much needed solo time produced one of the best tours of the year. After a quick stop into basecamp revealed that there were no empty seats for me to occupy in the helicopter, I made the 10 o’ clock drive to Thompson Pass for some touring.

While I’ve skied quite a bit on the pass, I never made it over to ski the “python” a route that is sure to be on my upcoming exam. From the Richardson Highway the skin up took approximately 1hr45mins  to get here, with slow legs and a leisurely pace.


The Pythons twin summits.

With ski tracks almost everywhere, and the buzz of helicopters all around, it was obvious that the companies that frequent the ‘road runs’ (such is python) have been quite busy. From here I chose from the many couloirs on the Python’s East face, and ended up going for the one ‘lookers’ left of the left summit.

Because this is Alaska, and not only are things bigger here but they seem to take longer. The ascent up the couloir took nearly an hour, much longer than I had anticipated.


The longer than anticipated bootpack


a great view of the ‘Berlin Wall’ to the East

 I tend to enjoy Col crossings during my tours, and generally don’t prefer returning the way that I came, so I scoped out the other side and referenced the old topo and decided to check out what the opposite side had to offer. A quick transition and descent produced a nice aesthetic line, but less than ideal snow before lower angle terrain back to the road.


That’s about it for now. Keep checking back for more.

-Mike Bromberg