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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2004 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  March 2004 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 6&7, 2004, Crystal Mtn BC
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Author Topic: March 6&7, 2004, Crystal Mtn BC  (Read 2638 times)

Posts: 34

March 6&7, 2004, Crystal Mtn BC
« on: 03/09/04, 04:56 AM »

The crowds turned out in droves in hopes of a repeat of the one year anniversary of The Epoch Day at Crystal.  On Saturday the snow was good but not epoch.  But it was a bluebird powder day.  The northwest aspects were wind hammered and the Crystal Patrol bombed the heck out of everything with only minor sluff releases that I could see.  We brought BC gear and tour out of the area.  Did a run 1/2 way down Kempers to 410 hoping to find shaded fresh snow as the south aspects received a lot of sun in the morning and became a little heavy.  Usually Kempers is a great stash but it was pretty wind hammered but still fun.

Saturday night I was woken to the sound of heavy rain on the roof of my van in the parking lot so I slept in on Sunday morning.  The blue skies that defied the forcast drew me out of the van and I toured up East Peak with my dog.  The rest of my bretheren chose to stay home and enjoy the rainy overcast weather in the city.  It had rained all the way up to 7000' as far as I could tell.  In the morning the upper slopes had re-frozen with the clear early morning skies and radiational cooling so even though I was doubtful of the stability when starting out I found that the upper slopes were quite stable to tour up through the gladed trees of Boullion Basin.  

The way back down was much more trickey.  The dog and I worked on our tans atop East Peak for a couple hours.  It was shirt sleeve weather (very depressing for March) on the summit.  We heard a helicopter come in to Crytsal and yesterday I read that two skiers were caught in a slide in Morse Creek.  No wonder - the south facing slopes seemed to have the most accumulation of fresh snow and with rain, warm temperatures & pockets of windloading they were not the safest place to be on Sunday.  We skied the south aspect off East Peak down into Boullion basin esentially retracing the ascent route through the open trees.  We had some major snowball action happening and had never seen anything like it.  I'd take four or five turns through an open section and then cut to a safety zone and watch these gigantic snowballs develop and roll down.  One grew to at least 6-ft in diameter, slammed into a tree and broke a limb.  Other than the snowballs there was no real sliding activity on the descent.  The slope had been skied with a half dozen tracks on Saturday which probably releived any slab tension.  It appeared that the south aspect of the basin had been protected from Friday's winds and had limited slab action to begin with that was confined mostly to wind rolls near the summit on lower angle slopes.  All in all the pooch and I enjoyed some good exercise, sun, and some sloppy turns.  Cool

going ricther

Posts: 431

Re: March 6&7, 2004, Crystal Mtn BC
« Reply #1 on: 03/09/04, 06:08 AM »

James I am curious to find out how snow conditions were below Kempers?  Did you have to negotiate any sketchy terrain to get back to 410?

You will know when Americas in trouble when the Mexicans stop coming...Carlos Mencia

Posts: 34

Re: March 6&7, 2004, Crystal Mtn BC
« Reply #2 on: 03/09/04, 09:33 AM »

We went about 1/2 way down Kempers and skinned back up so I don't know what it is like at the bottom.  There was good coverage to where we stopped, but below I could see that it was not as filled in as I have seen it in the past.  Generally it's not been a great year for low elevation snow as I found out two weekends ago doing a circumnavagation of Mt Thompson.

going ricther
ron j
TAY Moderator

Posts: 2602

Re: March 6&7, 2004, Crystal Mtn BC
« Reply #3 on: 03/09/04, 01:26 PM »

Good call.  I suspect the road's already cleared past where you would have come out.  Would have been a walk out to CM Blvd.

"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
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