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Author Topic: Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011  (Read 5826 times)
ebeam
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Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011
« on: 04/09/11, 07:23 PM »

Iíve not been able to get out on a sunny day since I donít remember when. Trip reports about skiing somewhere by Braille just hasnít interested me so Iíve not bothered to write any lately. Finally, a good weather forecast day that I can get away, but NWACís avalanche forecast is not ideal Ė what to do? I call my regular partner (oldguy) and we decide to head out to Barometer Mountain because route selection options exist for almost every kind of stability condition encountered. It seems many of our friends have wanted to ski in the sun too so it turned into a trip for seven.

We started early enough from the upper Baker ski area parking lot in order to cross the south facing slopes leading to Herman Saddle before they thawed out and became unstable. Our first run (down to Hayes Lake) was alternating consolidated powder with breakable crust. Most in our party ended up examining snow crystal structure in very close view sometime during that run.

A short skin across the lake and up to a small summit led to the start of our second run Ė a north facing gladed shot. The snow was perfect here. After that, it is a rising traverse to the ridge leading to Barometerís rounded summit.

We lapped Barometerís north facing bowl in very good April powder. Only the steeper rollovers produced snow movement (surface sluffs). It was hard to leave the bowl, but our planned exit was still quite a distance away - down a chute or treed rib to Anderson Creek Road from Barometerís NW summit. However, when we reached the entrance point for this over 3,000 ft descent, we did not like the conditions presented this day (either a steep exposed sun baked traverse or a very steep drop below a large cornice).

For a rounded and mostly forested mountain, Barometer Mountain is still quite complex. After studying our maps, we decided to traverse back over to the east side of Barometer Creek and drop a 2,500 ft forested fall line to the road. It proved to go and was very fun with tree bombed old powder in old growth, followed by fun old growth log pillows as the snow pack diminished with lower elevation.

Then it ended; the old growth and the snow. The last 600 vertical ft was pretty much all kinds of survival skiing (devilís club meadow, avy debris, downed timber, open creek, partially covered slide alder, etc.). We finally reached the Anderson Creek Road and skated out tired and talking about what else Ö the North Fork Brewery.

Four snow stability thoughts and observations:
1) We did not travel on any south facing slopes after they had warmed up so we canít comment on how they faired later in the day. We expected them to be quite active and dangerous.

2) We treated west facing aspects with special care based on the NWAC forecast, what weíd observed on Mount Herman from the day before (described and pictured below), and solar conditions observed throughout the day.

3) The moderately pitched open north facing slopes that we skied were stable and held good quality powder. We did not dig any pits but we continuously pole probed throughout the day as well as doing other traveling test.

4) We observed two recent large avalanches in the early morning when crossing the Bagley Lake Basin between Table Mountain and Mount Herman. The first one ran on the north facing slope of Table Mountain in the area known as the Prow. It avalanche ran all the way across the valley and probably occurred sometime on Wednesday (April 6) morning judging by the few inches of new snow on its debris. The second large slide originated in one of Mount Hermanís southwest facing aspects. This slide probably occurred due to solar influences on Thursday (April 7) afternoon. It appeared to be triggered from a tree or cliff bomb which propagated to a wide area and had about 2-3 ft crown. It ran over the normal (and usually safest) skin track alignment leading to Herman Saddle, and included some tree debris. I have skied this area for about 10 years and canít say I have ever seen this particular basin with this large of a slide produced from solar influences on recent snow. Many large slides do occur here, but my experience is they are from pineapple express type storm events when you expect most avalanche terrain to be active to its full extent.

I am definitely not trying to pass myself off as an expert here Ė just passing on what I have observed.

Travel safe; have fun.


* ForestMiniHuck2.jpg (225.56 KB, 640x445 - viewed 1007 times.)

* BarometerLowerNBowl1.jpg (176.34 KB, 640x480 - viewed 991 times.)
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ebeam
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Re: Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011
« Reply #1 on: 04/09/11, 07:24 PM »

avy pics


* TableMtSlide.jpg (179.34 KB, 640x480 - viewed 1000 times.)

* HermanSlide2.jpg (183.02 KB, 640x480 - viewed 978 times.)

* HermanSlide3.jpg (174.45 KB, 640x480 - viewed 970 times.)
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old guy
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Re: Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011
« Reply #2 on: 04/10/11, 08:15 AM »

Awesome trip!  The north powder was amazingly stable.  I was checking the slope angle with my slope meter and was supprised to see that at 45 degrees we weren't getting any sluffing but on slopes approaching 50 was when minor sluffing occurred.  What a excellent day. 
Thanks guys for a good short day.
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tob
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Re: Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011
« Reply #3 on: 04/10/11, 09:24 AM »

I like your idea of a short trip, old guy! Thanks for having me along on another of your adventures!
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JasonGriffith
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Re: Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011
« Reply #4 on: 04/10/11, 11:23 AM »

Way to make use of the day ebeam and co!† I was going to give you a ring if the weather window was big enough for a multi-day adventure.† As it was, a couple of friends and I went up and stayed in my parents cabin in marblemount after sampling this:† http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1012810

We also did not see any instability on north slopes, nor evidence of recent slides. I was a bit surprised, given the avi activity near the ski areas immediately prior to our trip.† I guess Ruby is far enough east, and high enough, to escape the recent warm-up (at least on northern slopes).
« Last Edit: 04/10/11, 04:51 PM by JasonGriffith » Logged
ebeam
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Re: Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011
« Reply #5 on: 04/10/11, 04:12 PM »

Your Ruby trip looked great Jason. I better put it on my list. Problem is, things get on my list faster than they come off it.
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Tundra X
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Re: Barometer Mountain Traverse, April 8, 2011
« Reply #6 on: 04/10/11, 05:32 PM »

Was up around Table from 930 to 1300 on Thursday the 7th. Both the Table (n'ly) and Herman (s'ly) avalanches had run before then.

In talking with the guy putting out the "High" hazard sign at the TH at 930 Thurs, he said they got a good hit from the sun around 1400 the day before and a handful of storm slabs released naturally.

Damn good skiing on N'ly slopes in the alpine/treeline on Friday for sure . . .



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