The daily log of christopher brenk for Monday, November 22, 2021

starrigavan snowshoe extravaganza / night shakeout


: 4.50 Mile(s) : 00:00:00 : : Kenyan 3000s : 0.0


: 6.20 Mile(s) : 00:48:25 : 00:07:48.54 /mile : Hoka Clifton Carolina : 0.0

Daily Note

6:30AM: colin was outside & off we went to starrigavan "lot." 7AM start. made the ascent in the dark - only took headlamps off shortly before the first lake, swapping them for snowshoes. the best case goal was to traverse the unnamed ridge that runs north south connecting starrigavan ridge to gavan ridge. decided to bypass the top of starrigavan ridge & go parallel to it past the second lake. around there though the temp dropped, the snow got two feet deeper, the wind picked up immensely, & it was a whiteout. frankly, i have never experienced such a thing, & "whiteout" feels like it sells the experience short. i saw colin in front me & that was literally it. couldn't be more than five meters of visibility. put on every layer we had (in which five seconds of unexposed skin felt very not good) & trudged on, using navigation a lot, because again, couldn't see shit. went east then south starting along the unnamed ridge - some pretty steep sections where we really had to dig in using the crampons under the snowshoes & got to one rounded peak at 11AM ish, & we both knew that the full ridge wasn't happening today. it would only get steeper & with two+ feet of snow & literally no visibility we could very well walk unintentionally off a mountain. thought about turning, but realized we could do the next best thing, & go south for a smidge, then bushwhack & descend to eagle dip lake, a small alpine lake neither of us had been to, & take a 20 year neglected / decrepit trail from it back down to safety. made for that. i'm glad we did. the blizzard fortunately cleared up shortly after & we got great visibility of the drop dead gorgeous mountains. some A+ backcountry skiing potential out there. the descent to eagle dip was sketchy in places - lots of steep drop offs. followed a river part of the way down, followed fresh deer tracks. turned & retraced steps a few times. eventually did make it down to eagle dip, which could maybe be my favorite lake in sitka. the sky ALMOST cleared up for a bit. the descent entailed five separate river fords / crossings, & it was starting to get dark, but we made good time & got back to the car at 3PM. 8 hour journey, 4200 feet of vert. what a great time. very cool loop. will maybe try again when it isn't a whiteout. glad colin could have a memorable final day in sitka. side note: doing the derk policy here for big hikes & cutting the distance of the hike in half & logging it as miles.
8:30PM: took a long nap & eventually decided to do a short run. stupid? maybe. ....maybe. ran longest dock & then laps on the soccer field turf. really lovely night, the sky was clear & the full moon & stars were out. body felt decent until mile five when i really started getting tired - so made my way home.