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Author Topic: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry  (Read 6279 times)
JibberD
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January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« on: 01/09/06, 04:28 AM »

OK, well, I guess I'm writing the trip report...

Mad_Dog, ronj, JW, Scotsman, Jennifer, Alisa and I toured Bear Gap to Pickhandle Basin under heavy overcast (after a hopeful bluebird morning sky).  The skiing snow consisted of 4" nice powder on a breakable, plowable crust.  Chris, maybe you can post a report of our rutschblock results?

This was only my second trip into the this area and I've got to say that the terrain is pretty freaky to me, avy wise.  We tested snow throughout the day and it was bomber, but I'm certainly going to be wary back there on future trips in looser conditions.

A very good tour with lots of great educational and serendipitous social tid-bits sprinkled throughout to make this a very worthwhile adventure.

Mad_Dog blazing trail:
Uit2lP5ofnWZ0w/DSCN1173.JPG?dc=4675555331641719100" alt="" border="0" />

More pics here:
http://groups.msn.com/RandoSkiing/crystalbc1806.msnw
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-Doug O
skipole
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #1 on: 01/09/06, 09:54 AM »

I also went to Bear Gap yesterday, coming up from the lake.

I'd say it was 1/2-2".  The only places with 4" were collection spots from wind transport or avalanche, etc.

Crystal ski patrol called avi conditions "low" and "dust on crust".  I'd call it dust on breakable crust.  Good avi conditions for going into the area, which I agree can have nasty potential otherwise.  I think coming up Quicksilver and from the lake has less avi potential than Pickhandle Point if you stay in the trees away from cornices.

In glades, which got the most snow, in spots where I didn't break through the minimal cover of new powder made for some great turns.  Otherwise it was "interesting".
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blitz
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #2 on: 01/09/06, 01:32 PM »

JibberD

Scotsman is out of pocket today, so here is my try.
This was my third BC trip and if snow wasn't memorable - scenery and company were.

We skinned up a well planned trail (thanks RonJ and Maddog and JW) to ridge crossing near Bear Gap.  Compression test failed after multiple whole arm swings and shear test revealed the three inch crust from last week's rain and 18 inch Decmeber crust, both  well adhered to adjacent layers (c/w Allyson's findings from day before -we saw your tracks)...   On Rutschblock (6 of 7 prolonged jumping) the jumper's AT bindings failed long before the snow pack - read foreshadowing.

We traveled north along southeastern slopes which would have been wet slide hazard in warm or sunny conditions.  We crossed paths with a band of yahoo snowboarders, and took a few turns down a pleasant 30 degree eastern slope with nice loose snow (Scottsman easily lapping us).

Then we stopped for a snack, contemplating a final worthy cornice under which we planned our late afternoon egress back into Crystal basin.  RonJ said he might have toppled it if he had brought his rope, but instead because snow pack was so adherent and the weather satisfactorily cold we decided to ski through the adjacent and down hill slope/chute.  We all descended safely around and under the cornice one-at-a-time.  Maddog and I were observing from a downhill stand of mature firs as the final member of our party (the Rutschblock jumper) picked a proud path directly under the cornice (even more spectacular from new perspective).   In the chute, directly under the burliest part of the formation, he flew boldly out of his bindings loosing both skis.  The ski-less skier bravely declined assistance requesting eyes-on observation only (though another brave member of our party finally climbed back up to help).  In waning daylight, after forty minutes excavation under the spectacular snow formation the missing article was successfully located and remounted.

The remainder of the trip was fun though we were cautiously descending through a steep forest alongside a creek, the sun had set and the halfmoon was overhead in overcast sky.  Notably everyone in our gang was cheerful and unphased by the lamplight return.  

Wow, I can't wait to go back out!

alisa
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alisa
ron j
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #3 on: 01/10/06, 01:58 AM »

Great TR, Jibber.
And very nice emblelishment, Alisa.

In the spirit of kindness we won't disclose the indentity of the elderly klutz that lost his boards... it was also very kind of you all to wait for me while I searched for the elusive gliss tool Huh and of Jerry to help solve the mystery  Cool
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
Scotsman
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #4 on: 01/10/06, 02:46 AM »

Good report Doug, and excellent update Blitz.
As I told Ron earlier, I actualy enjoy the min-epics more than an uneventful day, builds character and experience
IMO.
I have never  used a GPS  unit in the BC( map and compass  guy). but Ron's ability to inform to group that the waterfall bad chute is .1 mile to the East of us was very impressive. I'm a convert and will have to join the 21st century and invest in a GPS unit. Going out with RonJ and his GPS unit is like having GOOGLE EARTH with you.

Chris AKA Scotsman Cool
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JW
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WWW
Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #5 on: 01/10/06, 03:26 PM »

I had a really good time on that tour! When the snow is not so great... all you need is some old friends, some new friends and somewhere you haven't been to make for an excellent day/evening Cool  As the following will show we got Pickhandle....handled pretty well....Jerry  
« Last Edit: 01/10/06, 04:00 PM by JW » Logged

"You keep skiing, I'll keep filming"
cascadesfreak
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #6 on: 01/10/06, 04:57 PM »

Quote
As the following will show we got Pickhandle....handled pretty well....Jerry  

Nice viddy Jerry!  The skiing looked much better than Ally, Cin, and myself's outing there the day before...we must've missed that particular "stash"  Wink
Glad we missed the "waterfall bad chute" as it looked like we were heading for something that fit that description on our ski down, so we decided to put the skins back on to traverse closer to the ski area instead, avoiding some nasty jungle-steep terrain...
« Last Edit: 01/10/06, 05:04 PM by cascadesfreak » Logged
JW
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WWW
Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #7 on: 01/10/06, 11:38 PM »

Thank you Chris Cool  Sounds like 24 hrs and a little snow  helped. To be honest though the skiing was still pretty grabby....Jerry
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"You keep skiing, I'll keep filming"
JibberD
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #8 on: 01/11/06, 01:21 AM »

Hey, Jerry that's a fun video.  So was the  clip I had of you from my little digi-cam too grainy for the final cut?  I think it was the best skiing of the day...by Mr. JW.

Nice work!
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-Doug O
ron j
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #9 on: 01/11/06, 01:36 AM »

Great viddy, Jerman -- Another keeper.
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
Mad_Dog
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #10 on: 01/11/06, 03:08 AM »

Over the river and through the woods......... and a great time was had by all in Pickhandle basin  Grin.

Fun video J.
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Jeanette
Scotsman
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #11 on: 01/11/06, 03:52 AM »

Excellent stuff JW.
You are the Spielberg of Trip Videos. Cheesy
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Chairman and Founder of FOTAY( Friends of TAY)
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"Most Brilliant Move" of the 11/12 ski season
" Knows what he is talking about"
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" Scotsman may be correct"....Mikerolfs
kam
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WWW
Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #12 on: 01/11/06, 05:09 AM »

nice, gang! JW, highfive!  Grin
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What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
blitz
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #13 on: 01/12/06, 02:06 AM »

My mom loved video too! she worried about me skiing under cornices with some guy named maddog though Wink  Thanks for great adventure!
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alisa
ron j
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Re: January 8, 2006, Crystal Backcountry
« Reply #14 on: 01/12/06, 02:54 AM »

Yeah that MadDog guy's an animal  Grin
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
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