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| | |-+  November 22, Mt. Catherine
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Author Topic: November 22, Mt. Catherine  (Read 1905 times)
jt
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November 22, Mt. Catherine
« on: 11/23/09, 10:01 AM »

A group of eight of us took to the hill from Hyak around 8:30 Sunday morning. We tried to turn the snowshoer trail into a ski track, switchbacking up Serpentine Rd. to the top of the ski area, along the recently groomed xc trails to our turn-off point. Here the trail breaking began with a scant foot of fresh in the open, less in the trees and on top of a penetrable crust with bottomless from there.

Four of our group turned around below the steepness began, thinking the turns would come in low on the JOY meter. Once higher the snow conditions improved for the upcoming ride down with the crust vanishing, but deeper snow made breaking trail a pretty good chore.

While trying to stomp a steep switchback, a little excitement occurred when I heard a shout from behind, "Avalanche!" I looked up and sure enough a small slide was streaming down the slope straight for me. It looked like it would stop at a buried log above, but poured over it like a wave. I had a startled moment where I thought I was going to take a ride, but the debris was soft and hit with little impact. Annoying however, was that my skis which were already buried from breaking trail were now buried deeper by debris up to my waist. Some wrestling, wallowing, sweating, and it was back to the uphill track. The slide itself was a soft slab created by windblown that was coming over Catherine's summit ridge and left about a 6" fracture along the pocket it had broken from.

From the summit we deskinned quickly and got on down before freezing in the wind. The ride down was pleasant through the trees, more or less sticking to our ascent. It was unfortunate that coverage wasn't deep enough to drop the steeper lines through the cliffs, but the soft snow was a delight and the crusty layer down lower not so bad. The best run came at the end down the steeper line just left of Hyak's long-defunct chair back into the tracked up glop of the main run.

On the joy-meter:

2861' feet of gain + lots of sweat + wind + blowing snow + plus a few good turns = a good workout with a sprinkling of joy.
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jt
Marcus
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Re: November 22, Mt. Catherine
« Reply #1 on: 11/23/09, 10:11 AM »

Nice work, glad you dodged the bullet on the slide.

Of course, the JOM is a quantitative measure, so if you skied to the car then 2861/2861 = 100% JOM.  See?  More joy than you expected!

Smiley
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powdrx
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Re: November 22, Mt. Catherine
« Reply #2 on: 11/24/09, 10:49 AM »

As a member of the 8 on this day, I wouldn't say it was skiing to the car.  In turning around before the upper portion, we were entertained with controlling downhill momentum on the up track under, around and over the not quite buried Mt Catherine.  But I was going "down", so I count it as "skiing".  The run down "Dinosaur" was a nice finish to a day of training.  Always nice to practice staying dry on a day like Sunday!!

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