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NWAC Avalanche
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| | |-+  March 30, 2014 Silver Basin - Interesting Snow Pit
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Author Topic: March 30, 2014 Silver Basin - Interesting Snow Pit  (Read 2517 times)

Posts: 47

March 30, 2014 Silver Basin - Interesting Snow Pit
« on: 03/31/14, 12:05 PM »

Pete and I headed to Crystal to ski either Lakes Basin or Silver Basin and after talking to the Ski Patrol and reviewing both routes and possible bail options, decided on Silver Basin.  No control work is being done in Silver Basin due to Chair 6 being inoperable.  The weather was snowing and given the forecast we were hoping for little or no solar radiation.

But as soon as we started skinning, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day.  We skinned up Chair 4 where we met a group of 3 other skiers briefly.  We then followed the "road" toward Silver Basin.  It looks like there were a couple of skiers yesterday, but none by the time we got there today.

Another skier must have come by a slightly different route as we met up with his skin track as we could just start seeing the basin.  He turned east as he entered the basin.  There were not tracks in the basin from Saturday.

We stopped for a snack and decided that we would not be skiing to Crystal Lake or even up to the ridge.  The sun was completely out and the cornices were large (exactly the Avy Problems given by NWAC).  We thought we might just ski up to the spur/knoll and dig some pits and ski back down. 

One more solo skier caught us at that time, but he stopped as we headed up to the knoll.  He met us later on the knoll as were were digging a pit.  He decided to dig a pit on the other side as he was thinking of skiing off the King.

We dug four pits at 6250 ft with a 90 degree magnetic aspect in full sun on about a 28 degree slope.

CTE1 @ 10 and 15cm Q1
CTE2 @ 10 and 15cm Q1

ECT 2 @ 15cm Q1

RB6 MB @45 Q2

The Compression Tests failed on the new powder from this week.

The Rutschblock failed on the hard layer (1 Finger) at 45 cm. 

I was expecting the the RB to fail earlier given the CT results (probably due to the low angle), but given all the results, cornices, steepness higher up, solar radiation and avy problems and warnings, we decided to just ski to the top of the knoll and ski down for some groomed lift serve laps.

There was another party of two or three that was skiing to the SE of us on a NW steeper aspect with no overhanging cornices that had some great turns.  They did set off one small loose wet sluff even though they were mostly in the shade.

One great fun day of skiing.  All topped off by meeting Ross Gregg in the parking lot and talking to him for awhile.

* DSCF1962_1.jpg (156 KB, 800x600 - viewed 1019 times.)

Posts: 260

Re: March 30, 2014 Silver Basin - Interesting Snow Pit
« Reply #1 on: 03/31/14, 04:32 PM »

Model post!  Great example of decision making in the field and travel plan adjustments.  I was eyeing the virgin King on Sunday, but made the conscious decision to leave the splitboard at home just to avoid temptation.


Posts: 308

Re: March 30, 2014 Silver Basin - Interesting Snow Pit
« Reply #2 on: 03/31/14, 04:59 PM »

It'd be interesting to see someone drop a couple of those if they could get on the ridge.  It's nice that you can see the whole basin from the ridge so you'd really know if there was anyone below.

Posts: 108

Re: March 30, 2014 Silver Basin - Interesting Snow Pit
« Reply #3 on: 04/01/14, 11:51 AM »

The king was looking sweet Sunday and I was surprised no one skinned up the SB side and snagged it. The snow from ~ 48 hours prior (Thurs/Fri) was pretty stable on lots of north aspect high elevation inbounds but no real direct comparison available to the length and steepness of the face of the King. The top 8" or so (north aspect) was sluffing as observed in a few spots so no question the risk of sending a large sluff down the king and step down to the aforementioned 45 cm layer a real possibility.
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