Fly-fishing a whiteout
ZACH BEHNEY, FORMER NATIONAL PARK SERVICE RANGER, KATMAI NATIONAL PARK
A big part of my job is simply getting familiar with the extreme terrain I patrol. So a few years ago, two friends and I skied Alaska’s Nelchina Glacier. On our eighth day out, a storm rose up. We hailed our boss on our satellite phone, and he told us the blast would last for days. Rather than risk getting marooned, we decided to ski down.
But we couldn’t outpace the weather. The clouds and snow grew so thick, it felt like we were trapped in a white pingpong ball. To avoid falling into a crevasse, we tethered to each other, tied a 30-foot-long green paracord to a ski pole, and threw it ahead into the whiteout, like we were fly-fishing. A compass guided us down the glacier, but the rope helped us see the ground we were stepping onto.
After hundreds of throws, we finally got below the storm. You never know when you might do a little fishing.