For years I’ve wanted to crust ski up Summit Creek, which is just west of Summit Lake in the Kenai Mountains. My hope was that once I got up there, I could make some cool loops with Resurrection Pass and Devil’s Pass. Two years ago, Tim, Tim, Benji and I tried going up Summit Creek, but it wasn’t good so we bailed to Turnagain Pass instead.
Today I wanted to try again, even though I suspected that snow conditions would be about the same as last time. I went alone, mainly because I was afraid that I’d get denied again. But I just had to know if it was any good. I resolved that I would go anyway and just hike as high as I needed to get to snow.
Well, no hiking necessary. It was amazing.
When I got there, I made a last-minute decision to head up towards Gilpatrick Mountain, which is one valley south of Summit Creek. It looked like it would be better skiing. Summit Creek still looked poor, but I figured if I was able to complete a loop I could hit Summit Creek on the way down. It would be easier to handle poor snow and alders on the descent. Plus, Gilpatrick Mountain looked like it would be VERY avalanche-prone once the snow got wet and heavy. I wanted to hit it early when it was solid. Summit Creek definitely has avalanche dangers as well, but the areas are more obvious and many of them had slid recently.
I started skiing at 7 AM. The first hour and a half to the first pass was relentlessly uphill, but the crust was excellent and after that it was great cruising. I went over Gilpatrick Mountain, down to Devil’s Pass, through Resurrection Pass, over to East Creek, up East Creek to the pass by Summit Creek and then down Summit Creek back to the car. It was a 25 mile loop and took just over 4 hours.
I took lots of pictures, but I was alone and not really in the mood to stop, so all the pictures are crust and mountains. The pictures don’t really do it justice. The crust was perfect the whole way, the mountains were beautiful, and it was a really interesting loop.
One of the best skis (crust or otherwise) I’ve ever had. The only thing it was missing (compared to some other great crust skis) was spectacular glacier views. But no complaints, the rest was awesome.
Map and photos: