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| | |-+  12.22.08 - Crystal Southback
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Author Topic: 12.22.08 - Crystal Southback  (Read 3054 times)
Stugie
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12.22.08 - Crystal Southback
« on: 12/23/08, 08:17 AM »

Skier Dan and myself decided that we were going to head out, but upon arriving at Crystal, our plans began to swing a bit.  East Peak had the bluebird window, but looked like it had been scoured by the wind, and if we headed up that direction, it would be wind scoured E. Peak, or most likely wind loaded C. Basin.  So, we headed up towards Silver Basin in hopes of finding some wind protected areas.

We started by heading up towards the face between dog legged chute and gun barrel, partly because we had sights on the gun barrel, and partly because there was an already made skin track.  We followed it in a ways to find a lone snowboarder boot packing up to the bottom of the Dog.  We skinned over to a safe zone and began to transition.  He told us he was going to start getting some laps, and we told him we were going to dig a pit.  He started laughing - whatever I guess!

Pit was almost 6' deep!  I was really surprised of the depth!  Slope was a NNW aspect at about 32 degrees.  We found two layers of concern - the first being a faceted layer deep within the snow pack, maybe a foot from the ground, if that.  Looks like radiant heat from the ground has played an active role in transforming this layer.  Above that, we had about 3' of consolidated powder - hard packed probably from the wind.  The third layer came on top of this, which I thought might have been a small hoar frost from Friday night before the recent dumps.  Paul Baugher(sp?) corrected me later that it wasn't a hoar frost but a poor bond between the new fallen snow and the stuff from a few days ago.  We also noticed a bit of a crust just below the new 3" or so beginning to form.  This weekend may liven things up a bit...

A couple of pit shots...you can see my primitive cave drawings on the pit wall...



Shovel tap resulted in 27 hits (10W, 10E, 7S) before failure of the top layer, about 1' down.  28 hits failure from the lower faceted crust.

Unfortunately pits don't tell you where buried trees are, and there's definitely some lurkers.  I caught my tip on a tree, trapped my boot and pulled a less than graceful faceplant.  I managed to keep from sinking too far by inadvertently using my chest to arrest my fall against another tree.  Yeah, that's gonna leave a mark...

Dan on the other hand, managed to rip our first set of turns...




We decided the run was fun, but too short, so we opted to check out gun barrel, hoping that it would be a bit protected. 


After a sketchy skin of threading tree clusters on some not so friendly terrain, we were ready.


A windblown crust affected the top 10', so Dan threw in a hefty ski cut for good measure.  We only got action from a few pieces a couple inches thick up top, but they only moved a few feet.  Once in, it was smooth sailing.


Picture by Dan Howell

Dan managed to find the rocks...

Picture by Dan Howell



All in all a great day in the bc.  We polished it up with some mach runs resort side.
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
Teleskichica
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Re: 12.22.08 - Crystal Southback
« Reply #1 on: 12/23/08, 11:41 PM »

Thanks for sharing your pit results Scott. And all the pics.  Sorry not to be out there myself, but vicarious ski outings via extensive TR writeups are the next best thing.

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Livin' high on the cold smoke!
Marcus
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Re: 12.22.08 - Crystal Southback
« Reply #2 on: 12/24/08, 08:24 AM »

Great pit info, thanks Scott.  Good to see people digging pits and detailing them in TRs.  Gunbarrel looked sweet!
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Joedabaker
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Re: 12.22.08 - Crystal Southback
« Reply #3 on: 12/24/08, 09:19 AM »

Have a fun trip home and don't loose a tooth in those hockey matches at home Wink
Good to see you, Dan and Kyle at the Elk, thanks for the Nachos!

Yesterday we were just South your ski location and dug a pit. 5800 ft, approx, 35 degree slope, West facing. Four feet deep to ground. No failure on compression tests, only layers to note were near the ground older broken hoar layer about 8 inches above ground and VERY slight soft wind slab layer that is 4-6 inches below top surface, but bonded well with old surface, no failure on CT tests.
Lots of wind slab on the leeward ridge tops North Through west. No slabs or sluffs skiing them. East ridges scoured and breakable crust, but more protected east faces below wind looked to have had nice powder.

Could feel the soft slab on the skiing, but skied reasonable well. Trees were better skiing, but comprised more inherent dangers (downed trees, branches, holes) with the low snowpack and compressible snow.
Small trees and creek drainages have not built a solid base around them and have air holes around them. Take extra care when skiing or skiing closer to trees and drainage's, especially those who like to travel with dogs.
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Stugie
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Re: 12.22.08 - Crystal Southback
« Reply #4 on: 12/24/08, 04:20 PM »

Thanks guys.  Gunbarrel was awesome!  Joeda, good info.  I was surprised to see how much the snow had transported - with a nearly 6' deep pack in one area and 4' south of there...

Holly, glad to know we're providing you some entertainment!  Hope your healing is going well!  I found my dad's old touring 3-pin xc skis...I'm feeling a midwest touring tr coming on...Wink

Have a great (and safe, especially this weekend!) holiday everyone!
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
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