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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  May 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 8th, Cutthroat Pass Locale
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Author Topic: May 8th, Cutthroat Pass Locale  (Read 1673 times)

Posts: 255

May 8th, Cutthroat Pass Locale
« on: 05/09/09, 08:09 AM »

Just a quick post now, more info later. I wanted to let people know what we saw on our tour, which went from Porcupine Cr off of Hwy 20 up  to Cutthroat Pass and eventually down Cutthroat Creek to the east side.

Above about 5-5.5k, there was 8-14 inches of heavy wet settling new snow, which had not yet formed a crust. Much later in the day, as the sun started to cast shadows and the wind picked up, a crust did start to show up. So the snowpack ought to set up a bit, though it may not be enough for good corn until maybe Sunday?? There's a lot of mushy new snow that needs a good firm crust on top to be worth skiing.

In terms of slides, there was lots of activity between 10:30 and noon on the E through S facing slopes, though the action was mostly confined to steeper (above 40 deg) slopes with rock bands, trees or other features that would drop little snow bombs and start loose slides. A few small cornice drops happened but most of the action was from small loose slides that entrained newer snow. We saw nothing but loose slides in the AM. After about 2P, we did see 2 D1/2 sized slabs that released on cross-loaded WNW areas (ck out the 3rd pic). There were a few wind slabs out there apparently and they did go once the sun got around to their aspect.

With the NWAC trying to raise everyone's awareness (rightly so) I thought the quick report might help.

* Dave_n_NC_Ranges.jpg (90.37 KB, 648x486 - viewed 836 times.)

* NC_Beauty.jpg (110.19 KB, 648x486 - viewed 831 times.)

* SlideSm.jpg (179 KB, 778x583 - viewed 818 times.)
« Last Edit: 05/09/09, 08:39 AM by JimH » Logged

Posts: 11

Re: May 8th, Cutthroat Pass Locale
« Reply #1 on: 05/10/09, 10:00 PM »

I skied the BD tour yesterday (5/9) and up the SR 20 side of Cutthroat today (5/10). Left the road at 8:30. Blue bird sky and blasting sunshine on the entire south exposure. Applied sunscreen and reapplied and I am still crispy.  Bulletproof descent from the road acroos the creek which is still covered and  solidly frozen in spots.The first 600 feet were soft and sometimes gloppy working through steep rock bands. Above, the surface remained firm and climbed well with ski crampons. I ascended about 2000 feet to the base of the south Buttress of Cutthroat. Primo descent with a perfectly softened corny crust at 10 AM. The gloppy bottom section was gloppier by the time of my return.

As described, there is a 15 cm layer of wet not-yet-corn granular snow on top of several meters of well consolidated granular snow.  "Climax" avalanches on a variety of steep aspects appear to go down to the rain crust layer from the January pineapple express event. This top layer wants to move and I set off some short wet slides yesterday on steep sunexposed aspects after noon

The Birthday Tour ascended perfectly with ski crampons.  For the first time in numerous ascents, I managed to stay left enough and not get suckered right only to be mired in the steep brushy thicket to the right.The top of Blue lake Col had some fresh snow with breakable crust and a skin track to the top. The first time, I think, that I have not booted the top. Minimal cornice.Lots of wet slide debris on the backside from previous warming. Both days had a nice freeze overnight and the descending was superb. I went over to Kangaroo Pass, but would opt for an early left into the Liberty Bell col/basin/chute. The travel back from the base of the pass was sticky. Lots of big wet slide debris. I was skiing solo with my dog and was planning to hitch. There was surprising little (none) skier traffic at the hairpin and little westbound traffic and  I decided to walk (packed sandals) the 2 miles back to the Blue Lake TH to truly complete the circuit. Nice scenery. Tired dog.

Washington Pass should ski nicely for a while and should be getting better with more consolidation

« Last Edit: 05/10/09, 10:30 PM by lowrider » Logged
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