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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  April 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 13th, Diamond Peak, OR
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Author Topic: April 13th, Diamond Peak, OR  (Read 1577 times)

Posts: 40

April 13th, Diamond Peak, OR
« on: 04/13/13, 07:32 PM »

Despite uncertain road conditions na s likely poor weather I was desperate to ski Diamond peak after last April's amazing. Last weekends weather was disgusting (although I managed some smooth turns on maiden peak) and I was determined not to loose another weekend. With the cold forecast I left early but not early, skis on my feat 8:45. It was bright, cold, calm with snow flurries.

I managed to drive to around 4000ft where a large snow drift defeated my Subie forester. The road was clear (apart from trees). This was about a quarter of mile further back than this time last year.

Snow was thin and patchy until the 2160 turn off, but I tried to link as many patches together as possible with some dirt skinning. Up the 2160 was easy, I then took the left turn to rd 460. The forest looked bar and grim but at 5000ft enough snow appeared in the same place as last year. Hard frozen snow, covered in forest debris, was fast to skin but I knew would make for a shaky descent. At around 5500 feet the forest opens up to some old growth and the snow was much deeper and smoother.

Progress was mostly easy but the snow a little too hardback to make easy skinning, about. Quarter inch of icing sugar, helped grip on the gentler slopes. Above the treeline I followed the ridge a little but it was exposed (both wind and a steeper fall with rocks around). Weather wasn't too bad, snow showers mixed with brighter spells, breezy but not too bad away from the ridge. Visibility was sufficient but without the trees a little flat, but no whiteout.. I thought about turning back because from here on in it gets steeper and the hardback was unforgiving. I didactic ski crampons so thought I would test the edge hold.wasnt too bad so I proceeded to traverse the bowl aiming for the saddle between the false and true summits lost in the clouds. I took my time and carefully planted the ski crampons, making relatively good progress. About 30 feet below the saddle I had to make a switchback and climb the slightly steeper slope. My plan was to be to the saddle and reasses,at the least it would be a easy place to re ove skins.

Then my downhill ski slipped, scaring off the much of snow to reveal blue ice. I kept slipped and tried to ram my ski crampons in, which half succeeded but sent me in a cartwheel down the steep slope, I end up on my back raciing head first down the bowl.... Managed to get the ski below me but in touring mode they failed to stop my fall but at leas to was on my front, getting my face shots of the day. Lug the tips of my ski poles in and came to a stop eventually. Shaken, but undamaged. Lesson learned.

I made a precarious transition to ski mode and found that oneofthe ski crampons slid down the slope. Of course at this moment a heavy shower moved in so I waited 10 minutes for vis to improve and I saw my ski crampon. Fats ski back towards the car and the sun even came out for a long lunch in a clearing. Bony descent to the forest roads and then easy going on the patches.

Not many photos (not much of a view) but I might upload some later.

Posts: 286

Re: April 13th, Diamond Peak, OR
« Reply #1 on: 04/15/13, 07:11 AM »

That sounds like a scary fall, especially with noone around back there.  Glad you were OK!

Posts: 40

Re: April 13th, Diamond Peak, OR
« Reply #2 on: 04/15/13, 09:15 PM »

Before starting the traverse I did a risk asses,net and knew a fall with a long life was a definite possibility but the consequences were minimimal because there were no rocks or trees In the likely slide path. Still, came as a shock!

I've always been weary of ski crampons. When I was a begginer tired it just seems uncomfortable to be ale to transition from touring to downhill mode on a slope where you cannot get stable without the crampons. I also remember reading on Sierra Descents that Andy disliked ski crampons because they tend to lead you to places you shouldn't be without real boot crampons and ice axe. That was my modus operandi for many years until I moved to oregon where the cascade concrete persuaded me reinvest in a pair, which have proved very useful on numerous trips in the last 2 winters.

I think I will have to reevaluate their functionality, mainly be aware that on concave slopes to be weary of not climbing onto steep slopes that are unsuitable for ski crampons.

Will also start packing my ice axe on future trips.

Posts: 31

Re: April 13th, Diamond Peak, OR
« Reply #3 on: 04/17/13, 06:19 PM »

Hi Tim,
Glad your okay. Just wondering were you on telegear or rondonee?

Posts: 40

Re: April 13th, Diamond Peak, OR
« Reply #4 on: 04/17/13, 08:25 PM »

During the ascent I don't think there would be massive difference but I do like the lateral stability of dynafits.
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