“That’s it! We’re back to the civilized world and on our way out of Alaska!
There’s a mix of joy to go back home to see my daughter Mila but at the same time i almost dropped a little tear leaving this spiny heaven. That deeper trip has been an amazing experience! It’s been not that easy at the beginning to get into the rhythm after the wind had affected the snow, we got then stuck for 6 days in a big storm with over two and a half meters of fresh. That kept us pretty busy shovelling our tents two three times a day until the point where we all had to move our tents out of these gigantic snow holes, getting wet,..and sort of staying wet after that… Nevertheless I enjoyed that stormy period. It was cool to feel the nature around us going crazy, while we where sitting there in our tents feeling really far away from the “real” world!
When the sun came, we spent half a day on small lines checking out the snow conditions until we decided to get back on the alpine start missions. 3 am take off, for this first huge spiny face. The sunrise was amazing, really bright pink…9 am mission accomplished. I had never ridden such steep loaded and fat spiny face. I really realized on that trip the benefit of these Haines typical spines in term of snow stability, and It’s been great to take advantage of that stability to get into gnarly lines. We had to work our way around big cornices but once we had reached our entry point, it just became pure intense pleasure… chest deep powder spines… After that first one, we had decided to move camp and head towards the Canadian boarder to try to get that untouched face called “corrugated”… the name actually tells everything. The deeper crew had tried to reach it last year but couldn’t get it done. This year we found a good base camp spot right on the boarder that could give us a relatively close access. 2.30 am the next day we start to make our way towards Canada to get there at sun rise to catch that very short period of light on that north face. Once again the cornices crown the whole face and it’s really hard to find an entry but we still manage to find a decent one and after a bit of roped up shovelling we are ready to hit our last project. At 7.18am, Josh Dirksen, Jeremy Jones, Ryland Bell and myself have ridden these 600-meter corrugated spines.
All these faces we’ve been on had never been ridden – it’s been a privilege to discover Haines that way.
Can’t wait to see the movie coming out in September!
Time for summer now…”
~ Xavier de Le Rue