Trip Report: Tordillos
Trip Report: Tordillos
After just getting back from a quick trip to the “Goat Zone”, we needed to start formulating a plan for a more extended camp. Some old friends of ours were coming in to town from Utah, and I also had a Rome Snowboards teammate, Thomas Delfino from France coming with a filmer to shoot for a movie they’d been working on. Soon our group was expanded to 7 and this is generally about the largest I’m comfortable with. It seems when you put that many people together, group dynamics become an issue and objectives become obscured or competition for lines becomes a problem. Furthermore, it makes planning meals slightly more difficult as well as travel logistics when adding more people and gear on the glacier.
All my gear neatly packed (minus food) for a planned 2-3 week glacier camp.
Thomas and I have traveled and filmed together before and I knew we’d be on a similar mindset with our goals. Our other two friends, Zach and Cindy Grant from Utah are awesome fun people and pro snowboarders for Voile, but I’d never worked with them before on a project such as this. Zak Mills had also been along with us for a little while now but was sorta on his own agenda and just following snow and fun. While Zach Clanton, our main photographer had the hard task of managing shooting us all. I was also beginning to think the name “Zach” was a fairly common and we should start using last names more. Thomas’ filmer, Ben was also new to the program but has had some glacier experience before and ironically at one of the glacier camps we did last year in Haines after we left Riggs glacier for their production crew to move in.
Just some pumped up guys goin for a ride in the Beaver- Pilot Jacob, Thomas, Ben and I.
Anyways, weather in the Chugach was being fickle and wasn’t lending itself to be a valuable option. Therefore, we decided to roll the dice again and gamble. We packed up from Valdez and headed over to Anchorage to meet our friends arriving at the airport, and just a couple days later were flying out to a glacier in the Alaska Range that we thought looked good. Two loaded up De Havilland Beavers and all 7 of us in were off to a new zone in the Tordillos. Once again, Red Bull was on our tails and trying to do a camp in the same area but we were fortunate to get out before them and settled in to stake our territory. This would be my first time in this range and having only looked at it on topo maps we were a little unsure of logistics. However, once we set up camp we realized we were in a great spot, despite some of our prize lines being a little further walk than we’d like.
Zach Clanton jumping out of the Beaver.
Thomas and I navigating some crevasses.
When its deep and steep, Verts snowshoes to the rescue!
This was Thomas’ first real AK line, so I gave him the honors of first tracks.
A lot of effort for just a couple turns, but that’s okay with me.
Immediately, Thomas and I got out together on some spines while Ben filmed with a drone above. Man those drones are cool! They provide a whole new take on filming and offer a unique birds-eye perspective that was only previously obtainable by heli filming. Zach and Cindy Grant and Zak Mills partnered up to explore elsewhere, while Clanton was running around in-between groups to shoot photos. Somehow we made the big production work (well, big for us), and we all were getting lines and shots we were proud of.
Crisp mornings down to -10 Fahrenheit offer the most beautiful sunrises.
We called this area “Crazy Town,” most looks psycho but some is doable!
A fun few thousand feet down to the glacier below for a looong walk back.
Warming up in the sun waiting for the rest of the crew to party shred their way down.
After being out on the glacier for over a week with mild weather we received a satellite message that projected week+ of bad weather on the way. Unfortunately, Ben and the Grants had flight obligations to head back home and we weren’t sure if we should stick through the bad weather or not, just to fly out as soon as it cleared again and without getting any more productive shots. None of us wanted to leave, but we decided that it was the best thing to do. So after 10 days on the glacier, eating like kings, walking to dream lines, exploring new corners, and living far from reality, it was time to head home. Or at least back to Anchorage. Once back on dry ground Thomas told me that doing a glacier camp trip like we’d just done only further increased his love and appreciation for snowboarding with the effort it took and the pure means to obtain dream lines. I looked at him and agreed, 100%. I knew it after my first time doing a trip of that style that it was what I wanted to do from there on out. Hopefully, we can keep the dream going…
Adding photos to go with the bucket list. Always so much potential out here!
This is Alaska.