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08/19/19, 02:24 PM

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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  November 2012 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  11/24/12 Washington Pass
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Author Topic: 11/24/12 Washington Pass  (Read 3408 times)

Posts: 125

11/24/12 Washington Pass
« on: 11/25/12, 06:14 PM »

We found good ski quality around Washington Pass on Saturday.  Ski penetration was in the 20 to 30 cm range.  Average snow depth in the Hairpin Valley (6,000') was 120 cms.  Coverage is very good considering this was basically one big storm.  We found good stability but observed signs of very recent avalanches up to size 2.5 or 3 running on Friday the 23rd.  A test profile on an east aspect at approximately 6,700' revealed a few storm shears in the upper 50 cms but the quality of the shears were unremarkable.   

Word on the street is there were several close calls on Friday during the heavy snowfall.  Snowmobiling to the hairpin is pretty straightforward right now but the debris piles beyond the hairpin are pretty serious.  Only solid snowmobiling skills and a real snowmobile are going to get you past that section. 

Posts: 70

Re: 11/24/12 Washington Pass
« Reply #1 on: 11/26/12, 09:20 PM »

Team of seven retrieved one totally buried and one partially buried snowmobile today from Liberty Bell 2 & 3.  Both machines started and were driven away!  LB 1 & 2 easy to get over, 3 not so bad but big hole left that can be avoided. 
Individuals involved are physically fine and recovering from PTSD.  "He who crawls over avalanches"* even got to make some fine turns today!
Lessons learned?
-With new snow dumping, riding under these chutes is very risky!
Especially so if yours is the first group through and you are               
breaking trail.  You auger in and immediately you are in big
-Good spacing and guarding is really essential.  Avalanche cones
should be taken one at a time.  In any hazardous conditions this
means with the whole group, stopping between paths.  If conditions are hazardous, there should be a packed trail platform under the new snow or turn back!    In this incident two fully separate chutes ran at the same time.  (Along with other nearby slopes)  Keep in mind that you won't be able see each other on opposite sides of the cones so you may not
know that your buddy has augered in!
-Early season conditions contributed because of lack of options for
accessing slopes.  Always be wary when circumstances start
forcing you to go where you wouldn't normally.  Turn back!

Conditions have stabilized with cold weather, skied Hidden and Pika bowls out of hairpin last two days.  There is a shear layer within the new snow and hoar frost on the surface tho so watch it with the next snow.

"Slow down!  Let ME break trail!  Save the turns and the steep stuff for the way down.  We'll get there sooner,  ski all day and you'll still be able to stand up after dinner tonight!"  The Trail Nazi

Posts: 273

Re: 11/24/12 Washington Pass
« Reply #2 on: 11/26/12, 11:17 PM »

Wow, scary!  I've broken trail over those avy cones a few times. Never got stuck in the process, but it definitely made me nervous.  Thanks to the OP for sharing the info.  Can't wait to get out there later this season.
T. Eastman

Posts: 419

Re: 11/24/12 Washington Pass
« Reply #3 on: 11/27/12, 04:26 PM »

Nice clinical description, but why no names???

Inquiring minds want to know...


Posts: 32

Re: 11/24/12 Washington Pass
« Reply #4 on: 11/27/12, 06:32 PM »

Liberty Bell slides 2 & 3, notice Wolverine trappers digging across slide.

* LB_2__3.jpg (142.44 KB, 800x600 - viewed 1025 times.)
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