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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  February 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Feb 8, 2013, Snoqualmie area
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Author Topic: Feb 8, 2013, Snoqualmie area  (Read 1519 times)

Posts: 45

Feb 8, 2013, Snoqualmie area
« on: 02/08/13, 09:17 PM »

We chose an ambitious objective for the day, a long N-facing couloir with a high point of about 4500'.  Mindful of the considerable center to the danger rose, we brought a rope, and I rapped 20 meters down our line to do some tests.  I jumped on and generally abused a convexity to no effect, but my column test turned us back.  I found a 4" windslab on top that went on the 6th wrist tap.  Below that, another foot of windslab went on the 5th swing from the elbow.  Below that, I pulled on the column and got another 16" slab, very stiff and consolidated.  Very smooth bed surfaces between all of these layers.  My best interpretation of my tests is that the top 4" will go easily (as we later found on less committing slopes), and the lower, bigger slabs will generally be stable, but with big consequences should they fail. 
Turning back from this gorgeous line might have been a tough call, but South-facing slopes also had great snow.  We took several very high quality laps on open S-facing slopes.  Sun in the AM and clouds in the PM, with generally cool temperatures made for minimal change in snowpack above 4500' throughout the day.  Our last run felt a tiny bit crusty; everything before that skied beautifully, with maybe 10 soft inches that wasn't prone to move. 
Other observations:
- widespread hoar on open slopes.  Not that tall, and not really diminished by the sun today.
- lower down in the trees, a tough crust beneath 8" of snow made skiing suboptimal. 
- we triggered a couple 4" windslabs in a steep S-facing slope beneath a ridge.  I think there was some northernly flow at some point recently.  These slabs didn't spread far, maybe 1 or 2 ski lengths, but they knocked one of our party off his feet (saved by a whippet).  Lesson I learned: I'm terrible at noticing sketchy conditions while I'm bootpacking.  We were all surprised to find it reactive on our descent.  Something to keep in mind in the future...

* asuytjkldsn.jpg (217.84 KB, 850x638 - viewed 661 times.)
« Last Edit: 02/08/13, 09:27 PM by patrick » Logged

Posts: 44

Re: Feb 8, 2013, Snoqualmie area
« Reply #1 on: 02/08/13, 09:35 PM »

Dang, I was hoping to hit Granite solo tomorrow. That deep slab may deter me though Sad
« Last Edit: 02/08/13, 10:12 PM by olymountainman » Logged

The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too.
-Hervey Voge

Posts: 20

Re: Feb 8, 2013, Snoqualmie area
« Reply #2 on: 02/09/13, 01:22 PM »

Appreciate the detailed findings.  Really nice pic too...
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