The idea of crossing the largest non-polar icefield in North America was a bit daunting until we arrived at the base of Mt. St. Elias (18,008′) right on the Canadian border. We wanted to cover as many miles as we could using kites in the12 days we had. With a high pressure system over Alaska, we had three epic days of sunny clear weather, and epic kiting! Mostly with big kites and fickle light winds. None the less, we were able to cover 40 miles.
When a low pressure system came in from the Gulf of Alaska we knew we were in for a wild ride. We got hammered, and I mean hammered with weather. In five days we got five feet of snow with zero visibility the entire time. There were several 15 hour sessions of sustained 60 mph winds with gusts to 80mph!! Although we weathered the storm in fine condition, winds that strong can be a bit unnerving. The paradox was that we came to the Bagley to utilize the wind, yet, too much wind can be somewhat challenging in more ways than one.
After 8 days our pilots pulled us off the icefield as another storm was bearing down on us. Our hopes had been to cover some more miles, but that will have to wait for the next trip. What we did learn, is that the Bagley icefield is full of surprises and is nothing short of a kiters paradise.
See the full expedition report at: