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NWAC Avalanche
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| | |-+  December 12, 2015, Snoqualmie Pass
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Author Topic: December 12, 2015, Snoqualmie Pass  (Read 1531 times)
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1883

December 12, 2015, Snoqualmie Pass
« on: 12/12/15, 08:34 PM »

Susan (the smart one) was busy today, so I regressed to my forested solo haunts at Snoqualmie. To preface: I really don't mind going up or coming down through very thick trees.

Left pass level ~11 am, headed up the Kendall Knob road from the Sno-Park. It's lightly brushy, but eminently passable. I was surprised to be breaking trail before the trail left the trees; the road is usually steamrolled by snowshoers. I didn't see another track all day. It's been many years since I last had the basin to myself. Just bunny tracks, fox tracks, and grey jays.

Snowed consistently all day, mixed precip at pass level at 9 am became snow by 9:30. Very light wind below 4k; snow gently stacked up on the smallest of branches. What was 7cm of new became 15 or more by 3pm.  Snow wasn't light, but soft, fluffy velvet.

The bond of new to old below 4k was as good as it gets. Above 4k, especially in older trees, bond quality decreased with elevation, becoming moderate.  The character of sluffs above 4.5k was loose-dry.

The NWAC avalanche forecast was spot-on, with denser snow beginning to form thin 1-2cm storm slab atop the drier snow above 4k. No propagation at 2pm, but by now (8pm), I bet a ski cut would move it.  A sustained 15-25 mph SE wind hurried my transition atop Kendall's W ridge.

Skiing was quite good above 4.5k, far better than expected. As I'd ruled out center-punching open slopes when filling in my AvySticker, I returned back down through the trees. Coverage isn't good enough for flowing skiing yet, but it was sublime to float on winter snow again. 

Open creeks are mostly easy, as there aren't big creek walls yet. If you ski more for the tour than the turns, and you, too, don't mind thrashing through the Snoqualmie thicket (and know the weak spots), then pleasant adventure (and slabs) lies above 4-4.5k.

* SnoqualmieSojurnTAY.jpg (191.32 KB, 1000x667 - viewed 773 times.)

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