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| | |-+  January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
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Author Topic: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.  (Read 2738 times)
Daver
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January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« on: 01/10/13, 07:15 PM »

Met up with a couple new partners today and went up Heather Ridge. The trees were very difficult to skin through and I wished I hadn't left the pons in the car. Our intention was to ski Moonlight Bowl, but our first pit we dug on the east aspect revealed that the rain crust was very reactive and had alot of energy. Q1 9 at 20cm. We went to the northernmost point of the ridge and dug another pit on a little different aspect and we had very similar results. We played it conservatively on the way down. The pow was awesome down to 4300' and face shots were had. We skinned the PCT back to the parking lot and did a lap on a south face chute on Skyline Ridge which was pretty darn good. Good times were had by all.

Stay safe,
Dave
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andyski
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #1 on: 01/10/13, 09:16 PM »

Thanks for the report. Would you mind clarifying a bit? You say you wish you had crampons, but then got face shots. Was it only crunchy in the lowest trees? Was it because the new snow was really low density and dissolving underneath you? Thanks!
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Jonn-E
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #2 on: 01/10/13, 10:00 PM »

Being one of those people, I'd add that the second pit was on a moderate slope but produced the same result as the first pit on a steeper slope.  The rain crust provided false support (and a false sense of security) on skis.  Lower down the rain crust disentegrated into a layer that skis could punch through, making turns in tight trees more challenging below 4300'.  The new stuff is pure fluff though and made for some spectacular turns.  Solid group!

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Jonn-E
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #3 on: 01/10/13, 10:04 PM »

Andy I'll clarify.  Climbing the ridge above the nice groomed road to the weather station there was significantly more wind scour, so the rain crust was much more shallow and hardened by freezing.  The trees also force a lot of awkward, steep moves in there.  I had crampons and the certainly helped in that section, but were no silver bullet.  The whole section from the weather station to Heather is "sporty" right now.
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andyski
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #4 on: 01/11/13, 08:16 AM »

Thanks!
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Pete_H
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #5 on: 01/11/13, 08:24 AM »

I'm also not sure what the OP means. I was up there yesterday too. The new snow had very poor bond on the rain crust but not slabby at all.
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Daver
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #6 on: 01/11/13, 09:10 AM »

True the new snow had a very poor bond on the rain crust, it wasn't slabby at all. The concern for us was what rain crust was collapsing on.
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Pete_H
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #7 on: 01/11/13, 09:30 AM »

Wondering why you felt that was dangerous. Any funky or rotten layers under the crust would be bridged and supported by the crust and I can't imagine that being a concern. There was a big avy cycle up there a couple days ago during the warm up as I'm sure you saw from the refrozen tree bomb and cornice chunder.

But being overly cautious is indeed better than being under cautious.
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andyski
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #8 on: 01/11/13, 09:47 AM »

Crust breaking just sucks for skiing. Pete: Bottom line it for us, if you will: Was it good skiing or meh? There are lots of conflicting reports fromt he area. If anyone is concerned about herding, there's no f'ing way I'm going to Skyline Smiley.
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Pete_H
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #9 on: 01/11/13, 09:58 AM »

Good point Andy. My experience was some decent turns in open areas uneffected by cornice collapse and tree bombs and very poor turns in areas that were. Anyway, from what I hear better skiing to be found north.

I just found it interesting that this other party found some red flags from a layer I was pretty unconcerned with and wondering what their reasoning was.

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Jonn-E
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #10 on: 01/11/13, 10:26 AM »

Pete_H,
I'm only speaking for myself here but I didn't feel that the "bridging" you speak of was very strong, as it never really froze properly.  Coming off the skis my boots would immediately punch through (I'm fairly light) until I was literally thigh deep and wallowing hopelessly.  I'm also still learning, so instead of having the confidence, gained from long experience, to say "this conditions negates this other danger", I just see an easy slab failure in a pit and say "nope".

As previously noted, the crust held ski weight until somewhere around 4300. 
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Pete_H
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Re: January 10, 2013, Skyline/Heather Ridges.
« Reply #11 on: 01/11/13, 10:44 AM »

Thanks for the response, John. I was skiing in a little bit different area than you and found a bit more of a firmer crust. That said, in my experience crusts are generally not very reactive and don't propogate unless effected by an event like rain or sun. I was more concerned with potential for soft slabs from the new snow.

Glad to hear you guys had a good day and were thoughtfull about the conditions.

And sorry for the degression.
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