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| | |-+  Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
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Author Topic: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout  (Read 2257 times)
Larry_R
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Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« on: 11/18/13, 11:14 AM »

Until recently, I was not sure if I would be doing any trips worth a trip report. Whether thatís good or bad, I donít know. Nothing special about this one; Jane and I just hiked into our usual campsite on Sasse Ridge, a little ahead of the storm and watched it come and pass over. In part, we wanted to make sure all our winter gear still worked and that we remembered all the little tricks that make snow camping comfortable. Or if we did not remember them, we were reminded of them when it was not critical. The silliest things can be a big problem like getting ready to get out of the tent at 6 am to climb or ski up the hill and only one of the mitts is where it usually is. In many cases you canít start off  without them. With only a headlight or tent light, itís surprisingly hard to find small items that somehow get misplaced. For me, the first place to look is under the sleeping pad. There are innumerable otherwise trivial issues like this that can prevent you from doing what you want to do.  If you want to skip to the pics, the link is at the end.

Maybe I can say a few things about not writing anything last year or even going out for that matter. Over the past three or four seasons my strength had gradually been declining. I had attributed it to the inevitable effects of aging. Things came to a head in August 2 summers ago, when I could barely walk on the flat. One does not realize the true range of human performance until this happens to you personally. Otherwise, itís just a concept. But itís absolutely amazing what a few extremely skilled physicians can do, things that at least with my outdated knowledge of medicine, one would swear are absolutely impossible. With a very exotic procedure, the probems are now fixed with stents, and Iím increasingly recovering my strength.  So maybe there will be a few more trip reports from Sasse during the parts of the season where the sane our age keep to day trips.

Jane and I have increasingly come to realize that to do what we like to do, all systems must be go as they say. In addition to health, it includes all the gear that must be completely reliable, remembering to bring all that you need as the seasons change, making sure the car is completely functional so it will always start after being out all night at zero degrees, not having other commitments; so many things. Add to this another thing Iíve learned the hard way; one is always prepared for the last emergency, not the next one. Iím reminded of this every time I completely empty my pack and find things that have not been used in 10 years or longer.

OhÖ yesÖ a trip report is supposed to be about a trip.  Gotta keep Marcus happy! On Friday morning the Cle Valley still had the look of fall, with some snow accumulation at the tops of the peaks on the west side of the lake. We hiked up our usual winter ski route in the general area of Rd 4315, some through the forest and some on the abandoned spur roads. The general idea for Sasse is maximize up and minimize sideways, and keep the grade as constant as possible. Traces of snow started to accumulate at about 3000 feet, and by 3800 feet where we camp there was spotty coverage, perhaps 6 inches deep at the most.

We got set up, had lunch and waited for the storm. At that point it was a quiet afternoon with even a few sun breaks, but the NWS forecast was for a significant event and betting against the NWS is asking for trouble.  By 3 pm the temperature had finally dropped to 32 degrees and the light drizzle changed to snow. See the first pic.  By dusk the rate of snow acculation increased quite dramatically such that by 8 pm there was 10 inches of new. Thatís roughly 2 inches an hour for 5 hours straight, which is a very rare event for Sasse at least based on Sasse Snotel data as well as experience. It never cooled off that much, getting down to 27 degrees at night, but nonetheless, the snow accumulated all the way to the valley floor, tapering off in a fairly linear fashion to about 2 inches of very wet snow at the car.
Digging the tents out in the morning was a fairly major enterprise with the snow depth up to 18 inches  of very heavy snow at that point and still snowing. By the time we left the snow had stopped and it started clearing off showing the whole valley covered with snow. Very beautiful. (See the pics.) So one more trip and Jane and I felt privileged to be there once again in the snow doing what we like to do.  The hope is that the next trip will be on skis.

Larry

A few pics:

http://sdrv.ms/17gH6JL
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #1 on: 11/18/13, 11:39 AM »

Glad to hear you're getting stronger and back into the woods! A well-placed couple of stents gave me my dad back; he's still climbing his beloved 14ers every summer in Colorado.

Thanks for the snow news, too - many happy trips to come!
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AlpineRose
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #2 on: 11/18/13, 02:03 PM »

Very nice to hear from you again, Larry.  And congratulations on your new lease on life.
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rlsg
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #3 on: 11/18/13, 02:14 PM »

Thanks for the report and good that you are on a good recovery course.


Always like to here about your trips and discovered tips for outdoor comfort--big one for me..
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Marcus
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #4 on: 11/18/13, 02:33 PM »

Getting Sasse reports again is more than enough to keep me happy, Larry - glad you're still on the upswing!  Nice pictures too.
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Garth_Ferber
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #5 on: 11/18/13, 08:55 PM »

Larry - it is great to get another trip report from Sasse!
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Don Heath
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #6 on: 11/18/13, 09:33 PM »

I agree, Larry and Jane, good to hear from you folks again.  I still think of one of your tips everytime I get out of my car in the snow and rain - a plastic tent stretched from the roof to the car door, to protect us while we change, boot up, gear up, etc.

Stents! Should be a part of every back country emergency kit.  Wink
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The best part of summer skiing is napping on a warm rock.
silaswild
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #7 on: 11/18/13, 09:53 PM »

Over the past three or four seasons my strength had gradually been declining. I had attributed it to the inevitable effects of aging.... One does not realize the true range of human performance until this happens to you personally.
So true Larry.  I am thankful for every day of FUN I get, and hope they keep on coming.  Skiing is the only thing I can do better now than five years ago....
Remind me, didn't Jane tell me about your Dad teaching at Stevens until he was 92 years old?!!  There's a worthy goal.
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larry's sister
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #8 on: 11/19/13, 10:42 AM »

Good write up Lar and your camera is so much better than mine! I just felt like a kid in a candy store! Nothing like witnessing the big storms in the fall. So many fond memories of this test time and lots of tales of how we learned what to do. I love our 2 hour happy hour time outside our tents, like old timers around the stove, reminiscing about the mistakes we've made and what we've learned.† My gear is all packed again and just need to tune and wax my skis, test the glue on my skins, make sure my poles are solid, boots and socks still fit, hand warmer supply isn't expired, and buy more silicone spray....Could use more lithium batteries for Christmas...
Jane
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Larry_R
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Re: Nov 15-16, 2013 Sasse Ridge checkout
« Reply #9 on: 11/19/13, 04:05 PM »

Thanks to everyone for the kind words. I had forgotten the feeling of community that is present among backcountry skiers.† Yes Silas, Dad did teach skiing at Stevens until he was 92.† Iím not sure how safe it is, but he is still racing the family sailboat, now at age 97.† That longevity probably does not apply to me however; Jane is the one who takes after Dad.
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