Sophie Tidler, Ian Borowski, and I entered the 2021 year with a failed winter attempt on Roost Peak. We were only 100 vertical feet and 700 horizontal feet from completing its north ridge, but alas, we were out of daylight and had to call it off. The views were, in their own right, phenomenal and worth the whole trip. We enjoyed wonderful sunsets and clear skies both nights. A video of this trip can be found here -> Backcountry Alpine Ski Tour In The Chugach Mountains! // Rosie’s Roost Hut & Roost Peak! – YouTube
December 31st 2020 (day 1)
I don’t remember the time, but we must have started pretty early because we reached Crow Pass before the sun did. All the way coming up Crow Pass, the skin tracks of another party weaned in and out of existence and we did our best to follow them. I’ve never really noticed it in all the times I’ve hiked up Crow Pass in the summer, but there is actually a brief section near the top where you’d be sent you over a nasty fall if you started sliding on the crust. This didn’t happen, of course, but when you have a ~30 pound pack and are holding onto a crusted cross-slope by a G3 skin and a metal ski edge, the mind can’t help but consider it a possibility. At the pass, we kept in the shadows and wrapped around to the Raven Glacier. On the Raven Glacier we roped up and headed straight for the Raven Headwall. The Raven Headwall was steep. Just as steep as anything I’d want to ski in the backcountry. We unroped and Sophie set the switchbacking skin track up. Towards the top we switched to booting. As it would turn out, the Raven Headwall had the only soft snow of the entire trip and we definately needed it here. At the top of the headwall we lingered long enough to see the final sunset of 2020 before skiing down for Rosie’s Roost. We overshot it and had to hike back up to the hut, but it was a good sight when we did reach it. By the logbook’s record (and the lack of poop in the poop barrel), we were the huts first visitors since summer. Sophie had packed in 6 beers and we enjoyed 3 of them that nigh, much deserved after a solid day.
January 1st 2021 (day 2)
In the morning we left the hut and skied down to the Eagle Glacier to cross, which we roped up for. We worked a pretty large arc around the north side of Roost Peak. Gaining elevation from the Eagle Glacier on the side closer to Rosy Peak than to Roost Peak. At an elevation of about 4500′ we started going straight south toward Roost Peak. Knowing that both the north face and north ridge go, we opted to go for the north ridge in an effort to speed things up by enabling us to ditch the skis and unrope sooner. Well, we made it up to 6400′ before running out of time. It was a spectacular sunset in an area I’d never seen up close until today. We retraced our steps to Rosie’s Roost and I played a round of Farkle with Sophie before bed.
January 2nd 2021 (day 3)
On the third day we retraced our footsteps from day 1 back up to the Raven Headwall. There was discussion of climbing Raven Peak. Sophie wanted to ski it. I didn’t think the snow would make for a fun ski (and the weight of skis on my back wasn’t appealing either), so I just wanted to boot/crampon it. Ian was more tired than both of us and had no interest in Raven Peak, but he was fine with us doing Raven Peak without him as long as we watched him make it safely down Raven Headwall first. He would then wait at the Crow Pass cabin for us. Sophie was adamant about not splitting up (even for a quick 800′ turn and burn summit) and she began repacking her bag to go down the Raven Headwall. I thought it was an unreasonable precaution under the circumstances presented and I very seriously considered just going for it anyways, the snow was of little avalanche concern after all. But to avoid tension and ensure that I would still have a car ride when I got to the trailhead, I agreed to go down with them. I was apprehensive of the first turn, but the snow proved to be as soft as it was on the first day and the rest of the headwall made for some good, steep backcountry skiing. We followed our still discernable tracks down the Raven Glacier, unroped this time. We rounded the corner for Crow Pass and had lunch in the sun before skiing down the rest of the way to the trailhead. We drove to the Girdwood Brewery, but we left as soon as I realized I didn’t have my ID on me. Instead, we enjoyed cheaper beer with Ian’s parents and recounted the past days’ venture.