It’s not uncommon for Mike and I to make 15 trips onto the glacier before lunch. I took this picture at the 10,000′ elevation in the Chugach. We were hauling these mountaineers in so they could spend a couple weeks climbing various peaks in the area. You can see that they are probing the area for crevasses before they unrope and set up camp. I have pushed a 12′ probe into the snow until it disappeared, and never hit solid ground. The snow cover in some of these places is incredible.
It’s unnerving to drop of the first climbers when the clouds are hanging overhead like they are in this picture. The first trip onto the glacier with the first climber is always the heaviest because they must carry all the necessities to survive if weather prohibits us from returning. The first load always consists of client, sleeping bag, tent, gas, food, and personal gear. We NEVER separate a client from their sleeping bag. One of the reasons folks like flying with us is that we can operate as many as 3 Super Cubs at the same time and/or the Cessna 185 to expedite these larger groups.
I remember I could see the clouds drying up as they descended towards us at 50+ knots. Fortunately the wind was such that it was going over-head and missing us. The weather held until we got everyone in, but it never let us relax. Days like this are intense because it could have gone zero zero in less than 3 minutes, but all morning the monster just hovered overhead and watched. The weather changes really fast in Alaska, and is only amplified at an altitude of 10,000′. I took this picture in July.