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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  January 2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Jan 3, Snow Lake environs, strong E flow
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Author Topic: Jan 3, Snow Lake environs, strong E flow  (Read 2300 times)

Posts: 256

Jan 3, Snow Lake environs, strong E flow
« on: 01/04/17, 10:59 AM »

Reports of excellent conditions and little or no wind at Snoq Pass on on Jan 2 had us fired up to look at some bigger terrain on the 3rd. We saw the online report of a human-triggered avalanche in Holy Diver during our drive to the pass, as well as noting scouring/transport on Granite Mtn and other tell-tale wind exposed locations. Scaled down our tour plan to protected glades around Snow Lake. Noted significant wind transport and signs of tension in the snowpack near ridges. Also numerous small natural release wind slabs in N to NW aspects in steep deposition zones such as below convexities and cliff bands. The strong E flow had entirely stripped E- and SE-facing slopes down to a recent solar crust at 5,000' level. Skiing seems best from 5,000' down, and just keeps getting better down to as low as 2,000' (!!).

In hindsight, during our initial tour planning, we placed too much weight on the positive reports we'd been hearing. Multiple groups reported skiing right-side-up powder without wind affect in the Snoq Pass area on the 2nd, telemetry data also showed that the E wind hadn't yet developed, and NWAC's discussion (even today) leads with "three NWAC pro observers out enjoying champagne, champagne powder!!" What we should have been focused on was that the east flow had been clearly forecasted daily, and NWAC has been forecasting "considerable danger" above treeline.
« Last Edit: 01/04/17, 11:23 AM by tabski » Logged
Jim Oker
TAY Moderator

Posts: 1576

Re: Jan 3, Snow Lake environs, strong E flow
« Reply #1 on: 01/04/17, 02:07 PM »

Well played, and thanks for sharing!

Posts: 179

Re: Jan 3, Snow Lake environs, strong E flow
« Reply #2 on: 01/04/17, 03:06 PM »

Tabski: Thanks so much for the insight into your thinking and the evolution of your plans. I think this kind of discussion among the TAY readership is very valuable for those of us with less accomplishment and knowledge.

Posts: 15

Re: Jan 3, Snow Lake environs, strong E flow
« Reply #3 on: 01/04/17, 04:52 PM »

Great summary of conditions and your groups thought process in planning for the day. Thanks for sharing! 

Posts: 687

Re: Jan 3, Snow Lake environs, strong E flow
« Reply #4 on: 01/04/17, 09:23 PM »

Good snow found in sheltered terrain below 5000' in Commonwealth Basin today. There is some sun effect on due S open glades, but only where steep and completely unshaded. Poking into more easterly terrain yielded better snow at the end of the day.
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