Check out the 2 links below sent yesterday and today, showing they've travelled about 10 miles in that time. Obiously all that new food isn't weighing them down too much!
Their sat phone still isnt charging so we're unable to update on any more first decents they may have accomplished along the way, but will find out as soon as they're off the icefield.
if you are having trouble with that link try:
Backcountry training in Whistler. The guys doing a final equiptment test run, including the sleds, sleeping bags and the occasional exploding Jetboil stove. Up at 4am, out by 6am, summitted Mt Fitzsimmons by around 11am, followed by an awesome run down the glacier (nice way to break in Tom's legs after a summer off!). Back by sundown in time for a well-deserved beer at GLC.
In April 2011 they will depart from Whistler BC and arrive at the Juneau Ice field Alaska, after a week long journey by car, ferry and ski plane. The aim is to be the first to descend mountains that may have been climbed but never before skied, whilst traversing over 170km of glacier. There will be no porters carrying gear and no guides breaking trail . They will only receive one food drop for the entire expedition. Aside from this they will be doing everything for themselves in order to keep the experience pure and gain the most out of it.
The way is fraught with danger, from freezing cold temperatures, gale force winds, gaping crevasses and serious avalanche hazard. The team have been training their whole lives for the experience to come, which is why they are fully prepared and up for the challenge that lies ahead of them. Knowing that style counts for a great deal these days, they are representing all 3 disciplines of snow sports: Ski, Snowboard and Telemark. Not only will they show that these different tools can be used together to achieve a common goal, they will compliment each other in their ability to utilize the unique advantages of each discipline.
Tea in Alaska is a British ski mountaineering expedition, to Alaska. It consists of four members; Oli Lyon (alpine skier), Ben Biswell (telemark skier), Tom Halliday and Tom Francis (splitboard snowboarders). In April and May 2011, we plan to ski from Alaska’s capital, Juneau, 170km north to the town of Skagway. Across the heart of the Juneau icefield and the boundary peaks which divide Alaska and Canada.
We will start on the Taku glacier, the longest in the Coast Mountains and follow it north to the Hades Highway where we will summit and make a first ski descent of the Devil’s Paw, the highest peak in the Juneau Icefield. We will also climb and ski a first descent of Couloir peak and a first descent of unnamed peak 6840’ to the south of Devil’s Paw. From here we will ski west across the Demorest Glacier to the Mathes Glacier and Mt Ogilvie where we will make our longest ski descent of 1200m. As we continue north passing and skiing Mount Nesselrode, London, Service and Hislop, we will be constantly crossing the boarder of Alaska and Canada. North of Mount Hislop we intend to make first descents of the couloirs on unnamed peak 2104m.
We will then continue north passing and skiing Mount Pullen and Canning, here we will head west down a snaking glacier to Snowtop Mountain and north again to Mt Bagot. This will lead us to the Denver glacier and our exit route to Skagway. We will descend from a ridge above Upper Dewey Lake where it is likely we will have to cut or tunnel through the cornice and rappel down until out of harms way. Once we have descended to Upper Dewey Lake we will follow a trail down to Skagway and likely the closest pub!
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaskier on the Juneau Icefield
The Juneau Icefield is the 5th largest in the Western Hemisphere and covers an area of approximately 4000km squared. Annual snowfall often exceeds 30m! On this Expedition we will spend approximately 30 days crossing the Icefield, travelling 170km and gaining 4000m of elevation. This does not include our side trips to ski all the peaks we plan to. Approximately 100km and 7000m additional distance and elevation gain will be covered for our side trips.
To get there we will drive 2600km from Whistler, BC, Canada, to Skagway, Alaska. Upon arrival in Skagway we will take a ferry across to Haines, from where we will fly with a local ski plane pilot to the southernmost part of the Icefield, the Taku Glacier. Here is where the skiing part of this adventure will start. En-route we will call our ski plane pilot by satellite phone, to drop us food supplies in a pre-arranged location. The food drop will allow us to travel at a reasonably swift pace, as we will not have to carry more than 15 days of supplies at any time. This will still be a heavy load so we will still be carrying backpacks and towing sleds. Each time we summit and ski a peak we will leave the heavy gear at the base and head up with light packs, enabling us to take advantage of the incredible lines Alaska has to offer!
The whole expedition will only involve two flights and all our garbage will be carried with us. By doing this we are making our best efforts to minimize the impact on the environment. While we considered not getting a food drop and towing the whole 30-day load, we decided we would be too tired to make the most of the ski descents en-route.