telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
12/08/19, 08:43 AM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
Trip Reports Sponsor
Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
Info Exchange

NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  January 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk - slab
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk - slab  (Read 2295 times)

Posts: 266

January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk - slab
« on: 01/29/10, 01:24 PM »

I *really* wanted to go back and climb Unicorn in the winter.  Why when access is such a pain in winter?  Hey I'm a pin-head.  Nuff said.

My victim, uh, partner for this was Jeff A., who took the pics.  I picked him up in Seattle.  He did not run screaming down the street after meeting my van, Flipper.  A good sign.

After getting our permit and fox-proof container, we passed through the Longmire gate before closing.  We lucked out following Mike and Brenda's tracks past Reflection Lks. while the sun disappeared and the moon come up.  We broke the last mile to camp (9" penetration) on the rd side knoll E of Louise Lk.

A crack of dawn start saw us slogging down the road following fresh fox tracks.  Breaking trail (more or less) to Snow Lk. we caught occasional glimpses of Robie and co.'s tracks from last wk-end?  Lots of recent avy activity, most aspects.  Fortunately the gully's had run.  The trail breaking was hard w/ just two of us (up to a foot penetration).

AVY obsv:
At the top of the gully above Snow Lk. I took a closer look at the weak layer.  Other reports have mentioned slides in and around Paradise at similar (6000+/-) elevations.  It appears to me that the layer in question is hoar on thin sun crust formed last Fri-Sun morning.  This clean, weak layer is now buried under 4 to 12 inches of snow (Sunday's event).  Speaking of hoar, Wed. we observed new hoar crystals growing up to a quarter of an inch, most aspects and elevations between 4-7K ft.  By now, south and other sun affected slopes probably now have smaller hoar crystals and thicker crusts.  Shady slopes thinner crusts and bigger hoar.

The wind picked up as we approached the main upper N facing gully just W of Unicorn, then died and got very sunny on the S face as we topped out.  Rime, snow, and ice were melting and falling down the 40ft cliffs.  Our S side options were an icy, rocky gully that had slid clean, or a double hourglass gully (w/ cave) filled w/ deep snow.  We chose the latter, crossed one more avy slope and roped up for the final 15M pinnacle.

The summit pinnacle took me 40 min of clearing snow off the face and bad ice out of the cracks to find holds and cracks to take pro.  Finding no solid thin cracks for pins, I ended up using all four of my tricams.  I think I like my old leather boots over my T-3's for this sort of thing.

A lot of work trail-breaking for a short but superb ski down in powder and light slab.

Getting to camp by the light of the moon, we opted for another night out.  Yesterday we skied out in just a few hours on our packed trail.

In the middle picture you can see the traverse over from Castle and the cornices over-hanging the upper N bowl.

* SANY2353.JPG (109.07 KB, 640x480 - viewed 710 times.)

* SANY2424.JPG (96.77 KB, 640x480 - viewed 754 times.)

* SANY2491.JPG (117.82 KB, 640x480 - viewed 688 times.)

Posts: 2434

Re: January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk - slab
« Reply #1 on: 01/29/10, 01:33 PM »

Sweet!  Nice work -- a fun mix of sports.

Posts: 506

Re: January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk - slab
« Reply #2 on: 01/29/10, 02:18 PM »

Good trip report and climb, way to get off the beaten path!

chill people, skiing is fun
Snow Bell

Posts: 532

Re: January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk - slab
« Reply #3 on: 01/29/10, 03:44 PM »

Thanks for the report James.  I saw Flipper Wednesday AM @ Narada and knew that you were lurking about.
I wondered what you were up to until we saw your skin track on the upper part of Unicorn.

The visibility came and went that morning but we clearly saw a large fracture and some staunch wall just above your track on the N -NW face.  We could not tell if the skin track went over the slide or visa-versa.  (It also looked like something was sitting in the snowfield at one of the switchback.  It could have been a rock I suppose but it was quite out of place.)  We saw one other crown on the same aspect near Foss.

That would have been my parties track past Snow Lake from Saturday.  My apologies to Robie for associating him with our troubled trio in my TR.   Wink

Life is going to slide by you one way or another

Posts: 292

Re: January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk -
« Reply #4 on: 01/29/10, 05:34 PM »

Sounds like a good outing!   Thanks for the wonderful pictures...

Posts: 266

Re: January 26-28, 2010, Unicorn Pk via Snow Lk - slab
« Reply #5 on: 01/29/10, 07:02 PM »

The fracture and resulting slide on the N-NW face of Unicorn was huge.  We were glad to see that face had already slid.

Errata: Pics are copyrighted 2010 by J. Asproulis.
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC

Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.