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| | |-+  April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry
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Author Topic: April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry  (Read 2657 times)
markharf
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April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry
« on: 04/02/05, 02:09 PM »

Ho hum.  Another Saturday, another day of deep powder and untracked lines.  Yawn.

The local backcountry was spectacularly un-crowded this morning, with just a few of us barging around: Tim & Associates fearlessly cycling The Line; a couple of elderly snowshoers who turned back at what they thought was a cornice (but which appeared to me to be a snowboarder kicker); another lone skier, kind enough to complete an uptrack from Swift Creek just before I arrived; and myself, determined not to get sucked into the ski resort frenzy, which had almost filled the upper parking lot by my arrival at 9:30.  Oh yes, and later on, Ema and a motley collection of out-of-towners making their escape from the ski area, headed for Ten Minute Trees.

About 14 inches of very respectable powder covers five or so feet of fist-density damp pack in the Mt. Baker backcountry, all resting on another six or eight inches of dry, unconsolidated powder, at least in the one spot where I felt sufficiently energetic to dig that far. I dug the deepest pit of this very interesting winter just below a ridgeline where the most recent snow had formed a nice soft windslab, finding easy-to-moderate releases and relatively clean shears at the base of the fresh powder (this helped resolve any attraction I might otherwise have felt towards the skiing of steep, windloaded terrain). I then dug and dug and dug until I located what appeared to be the very surface on which I was skiing just 6 days ago...now buried 7 feet down.  

I then retreated to the usual gladed terrain, joining a fellow Bellinghamster I met there, skiing laps to about 40 degrees steepness without any hint of instability. Absent any wind effect, this was nice, nice snow.  Unfortunately, demonstrating an oft-underappreciated aptitude for snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory, I managed to repeatedly submarine the tip of my back ski into the denser, damp snow beneath.  This had a predictable effect, and I very quickly began to tire of the effort involved in thrashing to my feet, rearranging my clothing and regaining my gear while checking to make sure there were no witnesses.    

I returned, as I often do, via Austin, an ungroomed blue run at the ski area.  There, I found chunky, cut-up powder over a substrate of chunky, cut-up refrozen mess: hardly worth the price of admission, IMHO.  Nonetheless, the ski area seems to have done quite well by the recent storm, and I'm appreciative of that great big parking lot and the neatly-plowed highway. I just wish the WA DOT would splurge on a couple of those "Delay of Five Vehicles Is Illegal: Must Use Turnouts" signposts.  

enjoy,

Mark
« Last Edit: 04/03/05, 05:11 AM by markharf » Logged
Salal
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Re: April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry
« Reply #1 on: 04/02/05, 03:27 PM »

Hey I'm all for the backcountry and all......I like my time and space just like the next guy. So the next time you apply your 5 car rule....remember....that I like my time and space to get up the road....as well as I like my time and space in the BC. You wouldn't want me to follow your line down mt. herman 2 feet behind you, ready to crash into you at any point, would you?
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Jeff Huber
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Re: April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry
« Reply #2 on: 04/02/05, 03:34 PM »

Nice report Mark.

Spicolo, I'm sure Mark's comments re driving were in jest -- well, maybe ;-)
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markharf
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Re: April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry
« Reply #3 on: 04/02/05, 03:44 PM »

Maybe.

Edit to add:  Grin
« Last Edit: 04/02/05, 03:47 PM by markharf » Logged
ron j
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Re: April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry
« Reply #4 on: 04/02/05, 11:24 PM »

Nice report, Mark.
Ditto on the 5 care rule  Grin (maybe).
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
skykilo
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WWW
Re: April 2, 2005, Mt. Baker Backcountry
« Reply #5 on: 04/03/05, 08:15 AM »

Well I'm glad to know that all those webcams aren't the product of someone playing a nasty trick and there really is snow.
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