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| | |-+  April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
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Author Topic: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood  (Read 3185 times)
Jeff Huber
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April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« on: 04/02/05, 05:12 PM »

We stopped at Bennett Pass on the way up, hoping there may be sufficient snow to ski here. There was not, more snow is needed to cover the deadfall. Next stop the HRM lot were we decided on Heather, which is currently closed to lift riders.

We skinned up the cat track and resorts' runs to the top of HRE. Two ski patrollers stopped to talk to us. They both told us to be cautious in regards to avalanche danger. We were informed that morning's avy control had released little, and that NWAC had forecasted the danger as Considerable above 4000ft. This was incorrect. The actual forecast was Moderate below 7000ft. We appreciate their well intentions. A resort user also stopped to talk to us. She asked if we were, "hiking for fun or because we had to". We appreciate her unintended entertainment.

From the top of HRE we descended to the base of Shooting Star, ducked the rope and headed up to the run of the day: "Aboslute Magnitude" a gully which drops down to the base of Heather Canyon. Here we dug two Rutschblocks, did a shovel sheer test and a shovel compression test. One RB did not move with repeated jumps, though after moving to a different spot the top 6-8"s slid. The other RB's top 6-8?" slid with a hard jump. It did not slide cleanly. On the shovel compression test this same layer failed at 22, when I was articulating from the shoulder. During our pit digging two patrollers stopped to talk to us. One of them thought we were out-of-bounds lift riders, the other made courteous but uneventful small talk, and asked us to report our pit results back to them. Again, we appreciate the patrollers well intentions.

We descended the gully one at the time stopping at safe spots. The snow was well consolidated with it getting increasingly heavier lower down. At the end of the run we decided to ski out the Heather runout rather then skin back to the resort. In a normal winter the runout is very pleasant, with inadequate snow it's arduous. We crossed the creek at least 5 times, with at least 3 times taking our skis off or wading across with skis on. It was an adventure, though we never saw the Sasaquatch we had hoped to.

The day was consummated with dinner at the Taco Shop. Mmmmm..

It was another good outing. Lifts tomorrow, presuming we survive the time change and don't get eaten by Sasquatches.

Andy in Absolute Magnitude:
« Last Edit: 04/02/05, 05:33 PM by Gaper_Jeffey » Logged

gregL
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #1 on: 04/03/05, 01:18 AM »

Nice, Jeff. Your partners need to get cameras so we can see pictures of you!
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AndyP
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #2 on: 04/03/05, 01:35 AM »

I know - Ann and I have been thinking about getting a digi camera for some time but have been putting it off.  Jeff's good pictures must be providing a disincentive to doing so.   Wink  I actually took a couple pictures of Jeff jumping on the R-block with his camera yesterday but I'm not sure how they came out.  Maybe we can get a picture of Jeff skiing today.

As always a nice ski day and picture, Jeff.
« Last Edit: 04/03/05, 01:41 AM by AndyP » Logged
Amar Andalkar
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #3 on: 04/07/05, 07:19 AM »

Quote
During our pit digging two patrollers stopped to talk to us. One of them thought we were out-of-bounds lift riders, the other made courteous but uneventful small talk, and asked us to report our pit results back to them. Again, we appreciate the patrollers well intentions.


I'm not so sure about their intentions after reading this on the Mt Hood Meadows website:

Quote
WARNING - STAY WITHIN BOUNDARIES
VIOLATORS WILL LOSE PASSES AND BE FINED


A number of our guests are not paying attention to boundaries resulting in several search and rescue operations.
As a result we have initiated a NO TOLERANCE POLICY, passes or tickets are being confiscated.
We have pulled at least 30 this week including season passes.
. . .
[etc.]
. . .
Those being rescued are being charged for the cost of search with a minimum of $1000.
Boundary violators may also be cited under Hood River County Ordinance 140 and fined up to $500.


It seems like the patrollers were probably looking to pull your tickets if you had any. I didn't realize that MHM was so militant about their boundaries (I've only skied the area a few times over the years). So I suppose a quick jaunt up the Wy'east Face from the top of Cascade Express would be out of the question?
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kfoxpnw
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #4 on: 04/07/05, 11:18 AM »

I think someone, somewhere on the TAY forms has already said this but I'll reiterate it just to clarify.
The Boundary policy at Meadows is, and always has been, as is posted on their website.  In years past this policy has been enforced lightly if at all.  Most people who ducked ropes were hitting heather canyon before it was open, or heading into white river and comming out the bottom.  The patrollers just didn't put a high priority on enforcing these boundaries unless there was an agregious (sp?) offense.  
(Side note: about 7 years ago a small group of skiers, 5-7, were tickited and prosecuted in hood river county for leaving the ski area.  There were very few boundary violations the rest of that year.)
The way I see it, there are 3 main reasons for the new strict enforcement of the boundary policy.
#1: (and the biggest reason) You might say there is a new sheriff in town.  This year Meadows hired a new Ski Patrol Director.  When he saw how people routinely and blatantly violated closures he was amazed.  Acording to him it was about the worst he'd seen and to him this is a really big deal.  One of his large priorities is to crack down on peole ducking lines and violating closures.  And it goes beyond just closed areas, it is all rope lines.  One day Patrol was taking names and talking to peole who were ducking the rope on the turn under the top of the cascade chair!!  Seemes a little silly for such a small infraction but that seems to be the new enforcement norm.
#2:  The new Vista chair.  The chair has worked out sweet and many people are psyched on the terrain it accesses.  The problem is that one of the runs follows the exact boundaries of the resort and some great powder is visible just past the rope line.  What has happened on a number of ocassions this year, at least 4 I have directly heard of, is that people duck the rope, make some turns, and wind up too deep in the drainage to get back to the resort.  Usually they try to traverse out of the gully (frequently but not always these are snowboarders) and to no avail they just get stuck deeper.  They call the sherif on their cell and meadows has to send patrol in after the lost souls.  In 4 days in january there were 3 searches 2 in white river.   This is a PITA for patrol and it unnecessarily puts them in danger, ususlly a search happens after the resort closes.  I have heard people are starting to be billed for their rescue.
#3: Low snow.  The low amount of snow this year sucks. Due to this heather canyon has not been able to open.  Face it,  Meadows is a cool mountain but with out the lift serviced terrain in heather it is pretty average! The canyon not being open, and people wanting to ski that terrain, has led to more boundary violations than usual and the resulting crackdown.

I don't mean to sound like I am on a soap box. Just wanted to clarify some recent posts.  Even though the season is almost over (or are we on next season already?) It would suck to loose the pass I paid $400 for during some of the best skiing of the year.

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Jeff Huber
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #5 on: 04/07/05, 12:09 PM »

My understanding is that MHM's boundaries are always closed. However in Spring they do normally expand their boundaries such to allow you to hike, skin or ride a snowcat up above CE to 9000ft, right to the base of the WyEast and above Superbowl.

On TTips it was reported there was a search for a missing snowboard in Heather canyon on Saturday night. The snowboarder had been riding the lifts that day. He was found by MHM Ski Patrol at 1am, and it wasn't until 2:30 until they got him out. It doesn't sound like he was injured, he was just having difficulty getting thru the runout on his snowboard.

Earlier this season I received a questionnaire from Meadows. One of the questions was if they should install Backcountry access gates.
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Jeff Huber
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #6 on: 04/07/05, 12:21 PM »

Thanks for your message, kfox (I actually posted before I read your message). I didn't realize there was that a poaching problem from Vista. The biggest advantage I've found from that chair is it keeps the other lifts less crowded, though I've only ridden it a few times.
« Last Edit: 04/07/05, 12:22 PM by Gaper_Jeffey » Logged

AndyP
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #7 on: 04/07/05, 02:34 PM »

I think Jeff also mentioned this on a TTips post but to be clear we didn't purchase lift tickets and skinned from the bottom of HRM.  From what I understand, the Meadows boundary policy does not apply if you do not purchase a ticket.  

Unfortunately in this low snow year Meadows happens to be at the end of 1 of the 2 roads plowed on hood that end at over 5000 feet.  I'll be interested to see if there is a different attitude there this weekend after the notice on Meadow's site.  This past weekend was the first time that patrollers have even spoke with us on our way through the ski area.  
« Last Edit: 04/07/05, 02:39 PM by AndyP » Logged
Jeff Huber
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Re: April 2nd, 2005, Heather Canyon, Mt Hood
« Reply #8 on: 04/07/05, 04:49 PM »

Sort of related to this thread:
In March 2003 a party of snowboarders riding the lifts poached Heather when it was closed to lift users and one of them was buried (and successfully recovered w/o injury):
http://www.nwac.us/text_version/Mt_Hood_Mdws--3_07_03_Incident_report.htm
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