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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  December 2003 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  December 13, 2003, Hyak
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Author Topic: December 13, 2003, Hyak  (Read 1981 times)

Posts: 634

December 13, 2003, Hyak
« on: 12/13/03, 02:52 PM »

Original destination Alpental, but the sounds of clanking lifts (and clanking cash registers) has resumed at Alpental; no more fake BC runs will be had in Edelweiss bowl til spring I guess, except for possibly Mondays when they're closed.
Toured up Hyak instead. Graders were clearing roads and parking lots vigorously at the base, there's been quite a lot of snow in the past 48 hours. Breaking new tracks up main ski hill was really hard, eventually I found an up-track/down-track that were practically parallel and that made the remainder of the ascent more pleasant. I tried going up and over, but the slope of the backside was not sufficient to make turns and keep moving in the heavy deep snow, so I quit on that just above the powerline crossing and came back up. The run down main ski hill was pretty fun, just steep enough for partial turns. Visibility was pretty bad tho, maybe the person that put in the up-track down-track combo earlier had even worse vision and needed their own uptrack to mark the fall-line and avoid white-space vertigo. I was back to the car by 11; in the 2.5 hours I was gone there was probably over 5 inches new on the car. And I was soaking wet.
The snow starting from about 3K+ was actually surprisingly light but there was a LOT of it. Out of curiousity I dug a pit just off the ridge on the back side. There was fully 3 feet of kinda light yet quite self-cohesive powder, then an indistinct rain crust, another foot of semi-consolidated snow, then obvious rain crust at 4 feet and from there pretty heavy compacted snow to the ground at 6+. The bonds in the lower pack seemed pretty good, but that top 3 feet was tricky. Shovel shears went easily at about the 18" level with medium wrist side-supported and with just light taps if not supported on the side, and the snow wasn't just cascading off, it was sticking to itself pretty well. This made me glad I hadn't decided to go up Pineapple Pass or thereabouts, true avalanche terrain in Sno Pass area might have had some issues today.
The highway on the opposite side as I descended was a gawd awful mess. Trucks spun out everywhere, chains required on all but AWD, slow going. Chalk one up for the virtues of an early start.

Posts: 141

Re: December 13, 2003, Hyak
« Reply #1 on: 12/13/03, 06:27 PM »

Regarding the snowfall in the greater Snoqualmie area on Saturday, we arrived to get some quick turns in-bounds at Summit Central? (Ski Acres) around 11:15 a.m. and by the time we decided to leave at 1:30 p.m. between 10 and 12 inches had accumulated on the truck and it was still snowing hard.

Having VHF radio it was frustrating to hear the SAR folks getting caught in the pass closure(s).  Stay safe all!

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