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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  March 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry
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Author Topic: March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry  (Read 2616 times)

Posts: 1725

March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry
« on: 03/10/10, 08:23 PM »

Best day of the backcountry season so far!  We found 10" of very low density stable fluff on a firm base on N and NE slopes between 5300-6600'; on W facing slopes much of that powder seemed to have blown away or become compressed this afternoon to about 1/2" of wet glue that sluffed as we skied, once taking me for a 200' surprising ride in the afternoon sun (maybe wiser guys than I can explain the how and why.)  Below 5300' the snow was stickier and more dense.

For us the day was a perfect storm:  in and out clouds kept the snow from baking, friends skied up from Morse Creek to meet and ski with us, views were inspiring including a clear view of Tahoma in late afternoon, wind was fairly low, and the powder canvas was empty and waiting for our artistic touch.  Although we knew we could get 6-8 times the quantity of powder turns with our free lift passes, we opted for a higher quality of dance (for us) and a nice steady exercise on Mother Nature's outdoor stairmaster.   A day to store in the memory bank of why we love backcountry skiing.

* rangerjohn0310.jpg (106.31 KB, 800x600 - viewed 1021 times.)
« Last Edit: 03/10/10, 08:35 PM by silaswild » Logged
John Morrow

Posts: 578

Re: March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #1 on: 03/10/10, 09:02 PM »

Well Silas, nothing much I can add, you summed it up just about perfectly.
All I can say is Pico and I had so much fun coming up from our side of the hills to meet you guys on the top of the ridge and ski a few runs with you!  We were grinning on how easy and short the approach via Morse Creek was.   Felt like a century ago the last time I was up Morse Creek.
Well, I guess that's because it was
I am surprised to hear your exit was about as challenging as ours.  On the moderately steep SE through SW slopes (we kinda bounced around searching for better snow) we found similiar to your west exit.  The 8" or more that had fallen the past few days repeatedly melted and settled (from sun exposure) to just a couple of wet inches on the crust.  By the time we descended at 4:00PM those couple inches refroze and glued itself to the crust base.  It was sort of pick our way and go.  But a great run in a corn-powder hybrid it would have been just a few hours earlier in the day.  Such a fun exploration of a great variety of terrain overall.  Thanks for suggesting the rendevous.

If the forecast still calls for a bit of new each of the next few days, the NE through NW slopes in that country are going to be pretty darn good.  Too bad I have to work through the weekend.
« Last Edit: 03/10/10, 09:06 PM by John_Morrow » Logged

Posts: 163

Re: March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #2 on: 03/11/10, 05:51 AM »

Creative use of terrain, east-siders. What was the distance/time of the skin from the road to the ridge meet-up?
Pico Cantieni

Posts: 19

Re: March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #3 on: 03/11/10, 09:10 AM »

Tracing our route on TOPO from SR. 410 at the Morse Cr. Rd. to Pickhandle Pt. makes it look like ~2500 ft. in about 3 miles. A very reasonable approach to some outstanding ski terrain.  We will be back!


kneel turner

Posts: 646

Re: March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #4 on: 03/11/10, 03:36 PM »

Two of us were doing laps in Cement Basin off of East Peak.  We only had to share our favorite lines with one other couple.  More than enough boot top stable powder on a firm crust to go around.   Grin 
Over 6k' of sweet late winter touring.  Not bad for an 11:30 start.  Would love to be getting more today.

Stupid work. Angry

No, I'm not a telephone solicitor.  I ski with my heels free.

Posts: 512

Re: March 10, 2010, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #5 on: 03/11/10, 07:03 PM »

I climbed the Throne 3 times and had face shots down the chutes where the wind deposited snow was deep and sweet and provided face shots.

Did the upper Campbell Traverse  through the gate to the south face of Avalanche Basin where there was sytrofoam snow about 5 inches deep. Very unstable. The wind was just rolling it down the mountain so that the slope was in constant motion. DFF was covered with the stuff and it made for great skiing.

Keith A Henson, Puyallup
"Let's go! That powder's not going to ski itself."
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