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Author Topic: May 9th, 2009, Commonwealth Basin  (Read 972 times)
Marcus
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May 9th, 2009, Commonwealth Basin
« on: 05/09/09, 04:00 PM »

This was a Cascade Backcountry patrol day.

Carey and I headed out from Seattle at 7:30, getting on the trail around 8:45.  Given the past week's worth of heavy rain and snow at higher elevations (and the special-issued NWAC forecast) we decided to poke up into the Commonwealth area and see how things looked, with a loose goal of heading up Snoqualmie via Cave Ridge if it seemed worth it.

A good crust had developed overnight, but it quickly softened as the temps rose (75 in the sun, at the head of the basin).  We crossed the creek at the usual first opportunity, with no wet boots and only minor shenanigans to clear the (5-6 foot) snowbanks.

After working our way up the rib to climber's left of the creek, we came into the clearing below Cave Ridge and got a good look at many fresh wet slides from the day before, both from the Cave side and all along Red and Lundin.  In particular, a big one wore a wide groove down the center of Red's west face, exposing bedrock halfway down.

With ample snow yet to slide, we decided to find a protected spot at the uppermost bench before the climb steepens, relaxing for a long lunch in the sun.  We got to observe a new telemarker's first turns (tough conditions for a new skier!) and marvel at how long it's taking for our snowpack to consolidate.

The ski out was fast, despite soggy, grabby snow and the foot of mush on top of the base.  Good coverage on the trail all the way in/out, though it'll go fast if it stays this hot for long.


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« Last Edit: 05/09/09, 04:10 PM by Marcus » Logged
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