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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
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| |-+  July 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier
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Author Topic: July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier  (Read 1954 times)

Posts: 634

July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier
« on: 07/08/13, 07:50 PM »

Other attendees: Andru (andoolus) and Matt (handle?) Good day on the Russell.

Took trail both in and out. Snow starts at lowest edge of main Spray Park 5600 feet, skinnable up and skiable down to there.

Day started with marine layer which helped keep things cooler. Clouds danced in and out while crossing Park and lower Flett. Eventually and for no discernible reason an odd elongated altostratus formed over the NW side of the mountain but nowhere else, flattening the light but providing good blockage for otherwise hot sun. To the East, some fairly tall thunderclouds, what was weather like Emmons / Fryingpan (anyone chime in?) Marine layer also getting feistier with clouds climbing as high as 7.5K, ebbing and flowing.

2 or 3 other skiing parties observed, one was camping at Echo Saddle. Possible to stay on snow both for transition from lower/upper Flett and Flett/Russell if you picked just the right spot. In both cases those transitions won't last long. Cateye Lake still frozen.

Didn't quite make the Russell headwall. We stopped at a scenic ridge lump at ~9200 feet due to both turnaround time and apparent dirt on snow above that. (However, on looking at it close, that dirt was just dust, not the nasty cratering and larger debris that can happen on the upper Russell later and/or in some years. Talked to a party in the lot that had skied the upper headwall and they confirmed it skied good despite the dirty appearance.)

Snow on Russell was softened about an inch, Fletts maybe 2 inch max. There was a bit of stickiness to top layer so not A-grade corn but no worse than B. Skied plenty good as long as you went fast with big arcs or stayed steep, we could do either or both. No raised tracks to worry about and much of the lower glacier was beautiful white clean large grain remelt corn. You just wanted it to keep going and going.

Ice worms! Like, MEGA ice worms, Our late descent time (5-6PM) was perfect for observing the copious emergence of the worms all over the lower Russell and the upper Flett also. Have never seen such a widespread emergence, this beat my previous Iceworm Max Event from just last weekend (6/30 on Paradise Gl. the rollover).

Flett headwall looks IN but we did not partake, made cars after 8 so still a bit of light left. Bugs VERY light all day, only becoming an issue in the evening at the cars.
« Last Edit: 07/08/13, 07:57 PM by wolfs » Logged
ron j

Posts: 2600

Re: July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier
« Reply #1 on: 07/08/13, 08:14 PM »

Great report, wolfs.

"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston

Posts: 916

Re: July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier
« Reply #2 on: 07/08/13, 08:57 PM »

that second shot..  nice layout of the toes of those glaziers..    Cool

"Maybe we should ban hikers from anywhere that there is a potential threat to surface water?"   [courtesy Newtrout, 2011]

"Good for you for getting it and thank goodness I wasn't there with you."  [courtesy mikerolfs, 2014]

Posts: 260

Re: July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier
« Reply #3 on: 07/08/13, 09:00 PM »

Yes, great report.  Will be heading up there this weekend, hope the lower continuous holds out.


Posts: 2304

Re: July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier
« Reply #4 on: 07/08/13, 09:11 PM »

Nice TR and the photos of the headwall and worms were great.  Wink

Posts: 260

Re: July 7, 2013, Russell Glacier
« Reply #5 on: 07/09/13, 11:57 AM »

<<You just wanted it to keep going and going.>>

We did.

We camped Sat. and Sunday at Echo Saddle.  Had plenty of time to to ski many runs, explore, sunbathe, read, watch the clouds form and dissipate, ski . . .

Yesterday we had a notable run down the Russel from around 9200 ft strait down to 7800 atop the moraine below the toe of the Carbon Gl.

We had had a continuous ski from camp down to Spray Park.
Jeffrey will try to post some pics and a map.
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