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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  April 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 16-17, 2010, Smith Brook Road
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Author Topic: April 16-17, 2010, Smith Brook Road  (Read 2279 times)

Posts: 321

April 16-17, 2010, Smith Brook Road
« on: 04/16/10, 08:48 AM »

This week I went to Smith Brook Road and up by Mt. McCausland (5737) a usual spring destination for me. I decided to be cautious because of the avalanche risk, and started out extra early. Wednesday was most likely going to be the first warm day after all the recent new snow. It turned out that at my 4500 foot elv campsite there was an amazing 3 feet of new, consolidated but still a distinct layer above the old granular snow below and the temperature got up to 52 degrees out of the sun. I got by the slide paths while there was still a bit of a crust, and then on up to the south in the shade. See the first pic. [Edited to add that there were no fresh slides when I went by; this hill slides every spring from my experience, and, other than old winter slides, it had not slid yet. Sometimes the slides are huge, covering the summer parking lot many feet deep.]

About 10 am or so I heard a group of snowmobiles riding across the valley and did not pay much attention to it, but after a while the engine sounds would start and then stop for quite awhile, all from roughly the same location. After I had finished setting up, I tried to scan the suspect slope, and initially could not see much. See the second pic. Finally I spotted a few dots that moved. During this time I saw one slide, and heard two others. My zoomed in pics suggested that one of the sleds had been buried. See the third pic. I hope the sledders got out safely.

I've also compiled some of these pics using Photosynth, which should work on any computer that has MS Silverlight installed.

There was a 2 inch freeze overnight, and I did a bit of skiing early Thursday morning on the crust, but it was not all that grand. I did not want to wait for a thaw, because I wanted to get out before the heat of the day. Besides the slide paths, the snow bridges over the creek(s) looked like they might be quite tenuous as it got hotter.

The nuts and bolts: 3 feet of snow at the start of the road. Parking is in the large pullout to the east of the road itself. This is a combined use area (except for the wilderness areas  to the south), so expect snowmobiles. The good part of this is that the road is fairly well packed and not as prone to slushing out in the afternoon.


* slide_path.JPG (128.67 KB, 896x813 - viewed 684 times.)

* IMG_2795_1024x768_a.jpg (153.84 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 689 times.)

* IMG_2799_1024x768.JPG (82.38 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 701 times.)
« Last Edit: 04/16/10, 10:25 AM by Larry_R » Logged

Posts: 70

Re: April 16-17, 2010, Smith Brook Road
« Reply #1 on: 04/16/10, 09:03 AM »

Looks like the sledders were working on the sidehill, digging out a bit to get past the debris.
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