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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  February 2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
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Author Topic: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass  (Read 2992 times)
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1900

February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« on: 02/06/16, 05:31 PM »

A fun romp at the pass with a WAC-affiliated tour to well above 5k on W, S, slightly E aspects. Spent the day worried about windslab, but it was less apparent than expected. Some ridgeline cornices are getting big, and new ones have popped up where they haven't been all season. Ridge tree trunks were lightly plastered from both easterly and westerly flow.

Good skiing above 4.5k. No avalanches observed. No crowns either, just smaller rollerballs and chunks from trees and rocks above avalanche slopes.

Pit at ~4k on the west side of the Stump in the morning found ~50 cm of snow above the week+-old pencil-hard raincrust, and lots of wet ~4F below.  Compression test found ~4 layers in the upper snowpack failing from CT11-22.  The bond to the raincrust only popped Q3 with a shovel pry. Top 2-4 cm, everywhere we traveled, was upside-down and willing to move.

Skinning on a south or sheltered east aspect at 5200', we got one little steep roll to shift under our weight at least 30 cm down.  We skinned and skied no steeper. Deeper steeper snow on open slopes may well have gone with a ski cut.

Very heavy coming down from the Stump at 4pm. Eight knees survived the afternoon. One large tree bomb did not, hitting the forest floor with a smashing of branches. Snow was falling from almost blue sky as we left the pass.

Thanks, all!

* SusanSkisTheTreesTAY.jpg (192.17 KB, 1000x795 - viewed 1251 times.)

* JuliaInTheTreesTAY.jpg (191.52 KB, 1000x630 - viewed 1250 times.)

* GustavInTheTreesTAY.jpg (194.88 KB, 801x800 - viewed 1252 times.)
« Last Edit: 02/06/16, 09:38 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged


Posts: 5

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #1 on: 02/06/16, 09:37 PM »

Thanks for the detailed conditions. Took the folks snowshoeing up to Kendall Lakes and I think we ran into each???  Tomorrow the skis come out, and was considering going back to the Kendall playground
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1900

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #2 on: 02/06/16, 10:04 PM »

As Sunday's warmup hits its stride, the snow's character will change, very likely for the worse. If I'm skiing at the Pass tomorrow, it'll surely be inbounds, where the incipient mank's been groomed or pre-skied.

Glad to see you got out! Smiley The only people we saw today were snowshoers, though we crossed a few ski tracks, too. Quiet day in the neighborhood.


Posts: 16

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/16, 07:22 AM »

Hi Charlie,

Thanks for all the great information and awesome pictures! I had the pleasure of getting to teach with WAC a couple times and i'm so impressed with that group.

i'd like to invite you to post your observations to the NWAC site. Keeping up on what goes on across the largest forecast region in the country is extremely difficult.Information like you provided here would be super helpful. Here's a link to the observations page.

I hope to see you on the ski track

Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1900

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #4 on: 02/07/16, 09:11 AM »

Hi, Dallas!

Thanks for all the awesome reporting that you, and everyone at NWAC, do! Looks like Paradise has lived up to its name lately.

I've posted occasionally to the NWAC observations page over the past decade, but TAY is home. Below is an attempt to explain why. Apologies for the length; if I have more time, I'll make it shorter.

TAY has been the definitive online backcountry ski conditions resource for the entire region since 2001. Even as the number of trip reports on TAY has dropped, people are still reading (~500 views in a half day for this post), and I know the forecasters keep an eye on TAY. It takes one click to see every TR from the month.

TAY is the community that introduced me to backcountry skiing, from which I've learned much, met many friends (I'm marrying the best ( Smiley ) TAYer  in June), and shared great experiences. I want to see TAY, or something like it, thrive.

I think there are a lot of reasons that the number of trip reports here has dropped so precipitously this year, despite the popularity of backcountry skiing. Social media is one, with low-friction posts;  TAY's broad reach (paradoxically) is another, as people worry about crowding; and the NWAC app a third, as it's now succeeding at capturing some conditions reports. Cross-posting takes work, and most people don't do it. I'm certain that NWAC's goal hasn't been to harm TAY, but the app is having that unintended effect.

Yesterday, this TAY TR was one of only two from the entire state. Even in 13/14, the last normal snow year, we'd have had far more here. The NWAC observations page has seven reports from Feb 6. For many years, there'd have been between zero and two.

The NWAC Observations page isn't (yet?) a site for a ski community: It deals in pure fact, allows no comments (for good reason), and doesn't elicit long-form descriptions of the fun, stoke, and experience that are the reasons we go to the mountains.  From reading a prose TR, I feel I can learn a lot about the snow and about the skill/experience level of the person reporting it.  Furthermore, I tend to throw up a quick post (the first version of this post was from the car on the way home, to get it up in time for the forecasters to see it), and then refine it several times before it reaches its final form. I doubt it makes sense to allow edits on the Observations page.

If I were to post:

Feb. 6, 2016, 5:39 p.m. PST

Region: West Slopes South - South of I-90 to Columbia River

Elevation: Above treeline
Aspect: NE
Did you see any avalanches? Yes
Did you trigger any avalanches? No
Was anyone caught in an avalanche? No
Comments: Cement basin Norse wilderness

to TAY, someone would ask, "Which paths slid?" "How was the snow?" "Were the avalanches new? Old? How deep?". Several of this year's Observations don't identify a place at all within the Region, and state nothing but "No, no, and no." to the three stock questions. Lat/Lon coordinates are hard to use in prose form. Importantly, even with an anonymous username on TAY, we could place this report in context with other reports the person has made.

I've been frustrated this season that we couldn't ask those questions of posters to the Observations page, as this year, the quantity and quality of the Observations has gone way up.

So, to wind up this too-long post: When I'm still posting to TAY, it's not because I don't like the Observations page, it's because I want to keep the TAY community and its tradition of conditions reporting alive.  I'd encourage other long-time TAYers to do the same. This is a good place, and an even better group of people.

Time to ski again! Smiley.

« Last Edit: 02/07/16, 10:06 AM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged


Posts: 476

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #5 on: 02/07/16, 09:45 AM »

Great summary Charlie! Totally agree with everything you had to say. Thanks for taking the time to write that up--and all your postings.

Thanks to all who take the time and effort to write up a report and give depth and humor--and all things in between--to reporting that a forum such as TAY can provide.

Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1900

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #6 on: 02/07/16, 06:31 PM »

After getting more time to think about it while skiing, perhaps one solution might be to add a checkbox to the TAY New Post dialog that would  let a TAYyer cross-post (with a back-link to the discussion ) directly to NWAC.

Such an option could be used at NWHikers, SnoWest, CascadeClimbers, WTA, and beyond! It'd  be a firehouse of content, though, which might dilute the technical Observations that have traditionally comprised the Observations page.
« Last Edit: 02/07/16, 07:49 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged


Posts: 2434

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #7 on: 02/08/16, 10:18 AM »

Thanks for the post and the inspiration to keep the TRs coming, even if they're more general at times.  The NWAC cross-post idea has come up in the past - the technological solution is beyond me (and perhaps beyond the TAY software, not sure), but I've got some things in the (very slow) works that might help.

Posts: 499

Re: February 6, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #8 on: 02/09/16, 09:39 PM »

Amen Brother Hagedorn!

I should start posting more  Wink

But 4 kids, full time job, wife in grad school, and me studying the AMGA way... sometimes I'm too tired.
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