Talkeetna is blanketed in many feet of snow, the ski trails are groomed! The Oosik Classic Ski Race was held here on Saturday, 25k and 50k races were held under sunny skies and temps around 20-30 degrees F. Today the temp has soared up to 40 degrees F! More snow is in the forecast.
Yes, that big volcano to the south has been rumbling and sending ash up several miles, causing airport delays in Anchorage, and brief flight delays here in Talkeetna taken as precaution to prevent engine damage. Here in climbing-central the effects have been almost non-exisitent. THERE IS NO MEASUREABLE ASH IN TALKEETNA as of today. A trace amount, less than a "flurry". You can't see it unless you really look closely at the surface of the snow. If you want to follow the local news here is a good link: http://ktna.org/2009/03/24/mt-redoubt-erupts-again/
As far as we know, climbing conditions in the Alaska Range have NOT been affected by the ashfall. We will keep you posted here or by email if there are any additional preparations you should make.
A group at the Mountain House got to stay up there a few extra days, first because a little weather moved in, then because the flights were grounded due to the ash advisories; they were totally jazzed to be stuck! They made it out today, expecting (hoping) to be there longer. They said the weather couldn't have been better and they saw Northern Lights a couple of times.
Speaking of Northern Lights - Brian McCullough took a group of three to the Ruth Glacier for a Glacier Trek around the same days. They saw red aurora borealis one night! They came out of the mountains a day early, anticipating a storm. It was 20 below zero for a night with great conditions for touring during the day. They came back with huge smiles! I have some photos of that group that I hope to post soon!
We have been very busy here in Talkeetna, in spite of the sleepiness of this poor little blog. We had another Glacier Trek earlier in March, we've had a Wilderness First Responder Course and a WFR Recertification/Challenge Course and another is about to get underway. We do not expect the ashfall to interrupt the course, but be prepared just in case. Here is a link with "Protect Yourself" information and advisory updates: http://prepared.matsugov.us/ Car Talk even has advice for protecting your car: http://www.cartalk.com/ct/review/show.jsp?showid=200911
We hope Spring is finding you healthy, outside training, and doing things you enjoy.
Cheers from snowy Talkeetna!