Turned Back / by Caroline Van Hemert

The peaks and talus covered passes of the Arrigetch are plastered with snow and yesterday’s 12 hour window of good weather has shut down again.  Although we are only 16 miles from the Noatak, Ariel Peak is too snowy to go up and over and we got turned back by wet slabs on Escape Pass.  In strong winds and rain we are heading down to brush again, forced to backtrack and try a long and ugly route that we hope will lead to the Noatak.  At least rationing food has been easy since we don’t have firewood to cook our meals.  Hands down, this is the worst stretch of weather we’ve had since the storms of the Inside Passage.  Although our venture into the Arrigetch turned out to be a costly side trip, seeing this spectacular valley has been a treat nonetheless.  In a certain way, we’ve come to expect that things often get harder before they get easier – so the easier can’t be too far off!