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| | |-+  December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
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Author Topic: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope  (Read 4023 times)
philfort
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December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« on: 12/10/05, 01:10 PM »

There was powder everywhere at Snoqualmie Pass today!

Unfortunately it didn't exist in patches big enough to be enjoyable where we were.

We followed some climbers up through Source Lake basin (yes, some powder there) and up to the thumbtack (little bit of powder).  Then we headed to a notch to the ridgeline (a few patches of powder there), and out below the north face of chair.

Hmm ok, not too much powder here.  Just wind crust.  Wind crust everywhere.  We didn't head any higher, but managed to pick our way down to Snow Lake.  I was expecting the bottom half of the run to be wind-protected, and hold wonderful powder... oh yes, I was sure of it!  But no! Nearly the whole descent was on hard wind crust.  Hmm, this is my 3rd attempt at this route - would have been fun run too, if there was some POWDER!  Needs a little more coverage too.

Another run near Snow Lake yielded 50% powder and 50% wind crust, neither substrate lasting for more than 3 turns.

We didn't trust Snow Lake's ice yet (though later, we saw two guys walk out on it), so we circumnavigated the lake.  Quite a bit of powder on south-facing slopes here - especially near the west end.  I guess they're shaded by Chair Peak.

Circumnavigating Snow Lake sucks.  Won't do that again!  Broke my pole twice tapping heavy wet snow off my boards.  I was able to stick the remaining pieces of shaft into the upper shafts, but than one pole was awfully short by the end of the day.

Temps were much colder on the east side of the lake (causing accumulated wet snow to freeze solid), and there was lots of powder - but as soon as we began skinning up to the saddle, windcrust everywhere.

Suprisingly, south-facing Source Lake Basin still had... powder!  If you knew where to look (right-hand side of stream gullies).  Flats around Source Lake were still powdery.  But flat.

No cat track yet, but the tread on the west side of the valley isn't too bad.  I don't know if it's better than the trail (which we took on the way in).  Shorter I guess.

All day long, we keep thinking we would run into the secret powder garden... the promise was there, the snow was still dry on shady slopes.  But alas, it was not to be....
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Jim Oker
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Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #1 on: 12/10/05, 01:29 PM »

Rode the lifts for a few hours at Snoqualmie, and was surprised by how OK the New England style "packed powder" was, I expected something more refrozen. My first little exploratory probe into some untracked trees up high was ... powder! Then in a few feet ... sun crust! I wondered about where there might be continuous powder stretches still hanging about - I'm sure they're up there somewhere.
« Last Edit: 12/10/05, 01:31 PM by jim_oker » Logged
gregm
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WWW
Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #2 on: 12/10/05, 02:21 PM »



no powder for you!
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AlpineRose
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Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #3 on: 12/12/05, 06:09 AM »

Thanks for the great report and for making me laugh.  If you can't find powder, the next best thing is....humor!
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philfort
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Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #4 on: 12/12/05, 07:37 AM »

I think I know where there was powder - and had I not been on a snowboard (and thus, due to lack of skills, incapable of descending narrow couloirs without side-slipping) I might have suggested the idea on the way out.  That narrow chute that rises west of Source Lake towards Bryant Peak.  It is
1) shaded from the sun
2) not north-facing

Looked a little thin at the cruxpoint, but -  it might have had powder.  Might *still* have powder...  Huh
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Scotsman
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Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #5 on: 12/12/05, 07:49 AM »

We are all like cocaine addicts. " Got to get some powder maaaaan!"

This sport is truly addictive and we are all sick little powder puppies Grin
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chrism
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Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #6 on: 12/13/05, 01:30 AM »

A couple of us skied the chute Phil is refering to  heading up toward Bryant Peak on Sunday morning (I believe he's refering to the rather gullied drainage descending from the basin below Pineapple pass).  After Saturday's sun and warmth, our thinking was exactly that--look for north-facing shade.  But, still no powder.  The snow we found felt as if it had warmed up and then cooled and consolidated slightly, although not as much as an aspect in direct sunlight.  It felt to me like skiing on big styrofoam blocks--little lateral give, and pretty catchy if you weren't careful.

Funny that there's always a "the grass must have been greener over there", as we were thinking the same thing looking over at some folks climbing up under Chair Peak while we skied down from Bryant.  The weather sure was nice though.
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philfort
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Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #7 on: 12/13/05, 03:26 AM »

Quote
(I believe he's refering to the rather gullied drainage descending from the basin below Pineapple pass)


What I'm referring to, I think Volken calls "Bryant Peak Couloir".  There's no picture of it in his book, but it's an obvious deep cleft in the rocks, with (currently) a very narrow entrance.  It's further around the basin, clockwise from Pineapple pass area.

With a lot more snow, looks like this:
http://www.lumenation.com/images/bryantFarView.jpg
« Last Edit: 12/13/05, 03:29 AM by philfort » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: December 10, 2005, Chair Pk North Slope
« Reply #8 on: 12/13/05, 03:53 AM »

Sounds like the powder nazi was especially crabby.
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