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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  March 2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 27, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
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Author Topic: March 27, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass  (Read 1963 times)
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1883

March 27, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« on: 03/27/16, 05:04 PM »

A great day, made possible by an email from Seth and great forecasts/telemetry from NWAC. We placed a bet that early birds could get ahead of today's slab formation, and it worked.

At the car, we chatted about ruling things out, and Seth wanted to rule out , "skiing windslab" (I wholeheartedly agreed), so it went on the AvySticker.

Seth hadn't been up Snoqualmie before, so that seemed like the thing to do. Up the Phantom and emerged above the trees to find ~5 cm of new poorly bonded to the sun/warming crust, making skinning delicate. By 10 am, the precipitation had become largely graupel.

The Snoqualmie telemetry (OSOSNO) had suggested stout winds from the NW at the beginning of the storm, but we found almost no windslab on the SW side, nary a cross-loaded pocket.

Popped into the Slot as the storm picked up, with yesterday's tracks still apparent at the top, but uncertain slabbiness below. We nibbled turns down the skier's right side to the dogleg, where it became clear that a pocket of windslab on the left extended a peninsula into the choke. Discussion ensued, as it was so easy to justify risking the choke, and it looked very, very good. The AvySticker, and the ruling-things-out philosophy, shone in this situation. Ultimately, because we'd agreed to rule it out, and we wrote it down, we were able to turn away from the best snow we'd seen all day and boot upward. Without that agreement, I think we would've talked ourselves into risking the choke.

Mother Nature had other things in mind, though, as it turns out that she'd been dumping even better-quality snow on the Phantom, approaching boot-top by 3pm. Lap 1 was light blower and graupel, running loose dry. Lap 2 saw the beginning of storm-slab formation, cracking, and sluffs running far, one of which pulled out a storm-slab pocket ~10m wide, perhaps on the graupel 5cm above the suncrust.  Neither of us had expected today to include light snow breaking over our knees.

At all elevations, below the ~2-4cm crust's surface, there's oodles of 4F soggy saturated snow.

* AvyStickersInTheSlotBeforeWeBootOutTAY.jpg (184.12 KB, 534x800 - viewed 892 times.)

* Lap1StormSkiingTAY.jpg (163.89 KB, 800x534 - viewed 876 times.)
« Last Edit: 03/27/16, 11:50 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged


Posts: 648

Re: March 27, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #1 on: 03/27/16, 05:20 PM »

Everyone wants the slot, myself included, but when the phantom skis well, it's a really good run
John Morrow

Posts: 573

Re: March 27, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #2 on: 03/28/16, 09:26 AM »

We found similar on Silver, Charlie:
We were down by 2:00PM and the storm was late in develpoing, so we only had a few inches  of new on that big mass of wet grains, more in wind deposited pockets.
Today would be a good one, if I didn't have to work.

Posts: 707

Re: March 27, 2016, Snoqualmie Pass
« Reply #3 on: 03/28/16, 02:13 PM »

The density significantly increased overnight and the snow this morning was much wetter than it was yesterday. I blame the fog, which certainly didn't improve the visibility much better than yesterday, either. Lots of tracks on the face of Hyak this morning, none of them mine.

Moral of story is don't ski when you can snowboard
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