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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  February 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Feb 2, 2013, St Helens
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Author Topic: Feb 2, 2013, St Helens  (Read 2693 times)

Posts: 70

Feb 2, 2013, St Helens
« on: 02/02/13, 08:52 PM »

Not a ton of trip reports and I get the feeling folks are wondering how things look so... I'll start this off with the obvious,  lots of groundhogs found their shadows on Helens today.  The skinning was very firm but relative easy without crampons until the top 1000' or so.  Then is became a challenge but folks with crampons had an easier time and many switched to booting.  Seemed like 2:30-3 was the sweet spot.  The top was firm but carveable and then we veered left to the Swift creek drainage.  The snow in there was perfect smooth and sun softened corn snow particularly SW aspect.  It was very good and I wasn't expecting that. Everything beneath was firm so we had little avy concern, but under the firmness it seemed a bit hollow. We also saw some sledders on the upper part of this drainage high point the SW facing slopes,  I don't suppose there allowed that far over? 

Below that we skied skiers right of the up track and found some great turns, but the runnels were pretty intense.  The out was fine albeit it a bit sloppy with spots of breakable and treacherous through the luge track.

My guess is that folks that went lower elevation or in the trees found a mix of heavy deep slop and breakable crust.

2 corn harvesting  ascents of St Helens in 3 weekends ( both in shorts), I'll take it as a consolation to the winterless winter. 

* ChrisHelens1.jpg (79.01 KB, 640x364 - viewed 1579 times.)

* CHris_Helens_2.jpg (46.47 KB, 640x292 - viewed 1596 times.)

* Chris_Helens_3.jpg (66.05 KB, 640x315 - viewed 1601 times.)

Posts: 297

Re: Feb 2, 2013, St Helens
« Reply #1 on: 02/03/13, 12:27 PM »

Great pic's heinzsd - really like the first one that shows the open wormflow at the foot of the mountain. BTW - is your right pole bent or were you traveling faster than the camera could capture you.  Smiley

ѧѦ ѧ ︵͡︵ ̢ ̱ ̧̱ι̵̱̊ι̶̨̱ ̶̱ ︵ Ѧѧ ︵͡ ︵ ѧ Ѧ ̵̗̊o̵̖ ︵ ѦѦ ѧ ѧѦ ѧ ︵͡&

Posts: 7

Re: Feb 2, 2013, St Helens
« Reply #2 on: 02/06/13, 11:12 AM »

I had hoped to ski up Saturday but had some obligations. I thought maybe conditions would still be good on Sunday so I talked my wife and a friend into giving it a try. Started skinning up at 9am, switched from skins to crampons at 6000' and went to about 6500 before admitting it was getting too late and the extra vertical on ice was no enticement. Returned to 6000' and put on skis. Dropped 600' or so in weak 3:00 pm sun on in icy snow that left no edge impressions. Just as snow softened we skied into extremely dense and disorienting fog. We each fell a couple of times while standing still or when we thought we were at a standstill but weren't. Ski and dog tracks from the day before provided some guidance but the lower cornices looked considerably built up relative to two weeks ago so fear of unexpectedly going over them really slowed down what otherwise would be easy even in low visibility. Took at more than an hour to get to the trees on the main track, where yesterday's tracks were refrozen and becoming hard to see in the late afternoon light. The trail down was a fast narrow luge track difficult to control.  A good lesson in how an easy routine descent that you think you know well can easily become an exhausting challenge even under relatively benign conditions.

Posts: 70

Re: Feb 2, 2013, St Helens
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/13, 01:17 PM »

Thanks Edgesport,  they're my buddies pole.  They are the new body weight designed backcountry gate racing model.

Bummer about Sunday.
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