Greetings from snowy Valdez!
After successfully finishing the Eklutna Traverse, we headed east towards the Wrangell St. Elias National Park, and then south to Thompson Pass, near Valdez.
It is snowing today, and we expect another 1-2 feet of snow at the pass, so we are using the time to give you a little update on the current status.
The traverse was a great team effort - and very exhausting - as we practically had no wind to kite any of the 38 miles.
We were flying in with a helicopter, transporting all the gear in a sling. The area is great, many glaciers floating into each other, and stunning wide open ice flieds.
This allowed us to carry sleds with us, necessary to transport all the gear - batteries, camera equipment, solar panels, kites, ropes and other glacier travel gear.
The weather was with us for almost the whole time, we only had one down day, while staying at Hans' Hut, at about 2200m elevation.
With temperatures around -20 degrees celcius the great Mammut gear kept us warm.
On two days we were arriving very late, and had to cross an icefall in the dark - the LED Lenser headlamps helped us to find a safe way to the hut.
At the end we had to belay down an icefall to get off the Eklutna Glacier's toe.
Now we are here in Valdez respectively the Thompson Pass (30 miles up in the mountains). Thanks again to Great Alaskan Holidays for the RV rental.
We are rocking the festival, and our friend Marvin Ogger (vice world champion acro paragliding) already impressed the people around with a little acro show.
With our kites and the whole team, we are demonstrating how easy one can access the mountains without a snow machine or heli. The other day Seb and Phil climbed up 3000 feet with their SPEED3 12m kites twice a day to subsequently ski a nice line. On their way up they passed a bunch of ski touring folks, leaving a stunning look on their faces as they passed by with 15 km/h going uphill.
Other days, we are speedflying massive lines, doing barrel rolls, and half of the camp watching a night speed flight down "Odysee" with a LED Lenser headlamp.
The X21R (the top product of LED Lenser) impressed the people illuminating a whole mountain.
To cut a long story short, the time in Valdez so far has been very successful - and we still have two weeks to go!
After this, we are looking forward to the most important part of the project - the Mount Marcus Baker expedition.
During our "whiteout" time here in Valdez, we try to send each one of you also an individual email, with a couple of pictures and comments!
So long, have a wonderful easter time, best regards from Valdez,
The Ataraxia Crew