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|-+  2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  March 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 15, 2009 Pt. 5909'
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Author Topic: March 15, 2009 Pt. 5909'  (Read 1528 times)
John Morrow

Posts: 572

March 15, 2009 Pt. 5909'
« on: 03/15/09, 09:09 PM »

Pt. 5909' is on the ridge that separates Arrowhead Peak from Jim Hill Mountain.  Standard Arrowhead approach on this one.  Honestly, we kinda overshot Arrowhead in the poor visibility!
Snow was deep!
Shortly up the road system Jake and I were caught up to by jwplotz who graciously broke more than his share of trail.  We travelled together for the rest of the day.  By the time we hit 5000 feet, in the back of the basin west of Arrowhead, we were into 12 to 14 inches of new snow on a base of old settled snow.  We stayed in forest beyond this point.
Probably the most important point to make in this TR was the stability, or lack thereof.  There seemed to be a good bond of the deep new snow to the settled powder snow from last week.  No crusts on the north aspect.  However, on any slope exceeding 35 degrees the top 6 to 10 inches would readily sluff on a layer within the powder.  I am wondering if the snow that fell late into last night had lower density than the 6 to 10 inches that fell through the morning (exceeding 10 to 12 new inches by later in the day), thus creating the instability.   On this layer small slabs would  propagate sympathetically above us from our weight below.  Of course, we were in trees this entire time, open Stevens area subalpine old growth.  Both the slabs and the sluffs moved fast, gaining new snow as they went, and could easily become dangerous if in the open, on a long sustained 35 degree or steeper slope.  On slopes around 30 degrees nothing would run out any distance.  This made us glad to be in the trees below Pt. 5909 and not over on Arrowhead.  We gained the ridge just west of the Arrowhead/5909 saddle and continued west to the top.
A couple of guys caught up to us at the top.  We elected to ski NW through open whitebark forest to a saddle on the north ridge.  The run SE down to Whitepine Creek looked incredible.  The other two went back toward our skin track, we think.  At the saddle on the northern ridge we were facing east on a 35 degree entrance.  John ski cut the slope and all 14 to 18 inches of new slid on a firm sun crust, gaining speed and snow as it went to the valley floor.  Well, it was now safe to ski!
The skiing was deep and fun back down through the upper clearcut, enough to warrant climbing our skin track back to a little above the clearcut for a second run.  Those two had awesome runs on their superfats.  Jake was beyond psyched!  I was sinking down deep on my Tacoras and having a bit of trouble balancing.  Watching those guys reminded me of the amazing snow we all had last week on Silver Peak's east slope.
It snowed hard all day and was exciting to be back in the heart of a weather system.  Also nice to get our wet selves into a warm car and not a tent at the end of the day!
Good to meet up with you, John.
« Last Edit: 03/16/09, 07:41 AM by John_Morrow » Logged

Posts: 434

Re: March 15, 2009 Pt. 5909'
« Reply #1 on: 03/15/09, 09:48 PM »

Big John!  Thanks for letting me tag along.  That last run was excellent.  But the skin back to the Nordic parking lot sucked.  Next time I'm parking down where you were.
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