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11/16/18, 04:23 AM

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Author Topic: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet  (Read 2065 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« on: 04/25/18, 05:53 PM »





For several years, I've observed an informal ritual of touring at Crystal Mountain right after they close in spring. I like to tag a few high points, enjoy the spring views, and mark the closure of the lift skiing season.



Ross Freeman climbs toward Threeway Peak.

During my first trip in 2006, I tagged four peaks: Threeway, Silver King, Silver Queen, and the Summit House, an outing I called the Crystal Quartet.  I gradually added more summits, working up to six in 2017.  Realizing that I'd skipped only The Throne on previous trips, I decided to come back this year to link them all. 



Skiing the north flank of Silver King.

Ross Freeman suggested a ski day on Tuesday.  Since record temperatures were expected, with the first big warmup of the year, I suggested the Crystal circuit, on the theory that we could pass the most serious avalanche zones (from Threeway Peak to The Throne) before the snow got too soft.  This worked well and we were aided by strong east winds (averaging 20+ mph with gusts to 50+) that slowed the warmup.



Rest stop on The Throne.

We passed the boundary sign as we entered the Southback, happy that we could tour wherever we wanted today.  During the climb of Threeway Peak, I saw how treacherous the snowy rock on the upper ridge can be. A chunk of cornice fell away as I was passing, revealing a really nasty drop to the north. It reinforced for me that you shouldn't trust that snow, and climb only on the rock where the ridge narrows near the top.

Aside from the honking wind, our climbs and descents of Silver King and The Throne were pretty routine.  Once we descended to Campbell Basin, we knew we'd be traveling on snow that had been heavily skied all winter, so we had less concern about the sun baking it further.



Climbing above Campbell Basin to Silver Queen. Threeway Peak, Silver King and The Throne rise in the distance.

After descending Powder Bowl from the summit of Silver Queen, we encountered a pair of skiers, the only others we saw all day.  We continued to the Summit lodge, skied the upper part of Green Valley, climbed to Grubstake Peak and skied the north chute, and finished the septet by skiing the upper bowl of Northway Peak.

We traversed Paradise Bowl back to Snorting Elk basin, dropped into Green Valley, then climbed to Iceberg Ridge and descended to the base. Our round trip time was around 8 hours, with plenty of time to lounge on the peaks and enjoy the views.
« Last Edit: 04/25/18, 06:45 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Zap
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #1 on: 04/25/18, 06:53 PM »

 Wink
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skibacks
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #2 on: 04/26/18, 08:27 PM »

Solid
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skibacks
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #3 on: 04/30/18, 03:35 PM »

Okay, that's spooky.

Posted to the TAY Facebook group by Pavel Sova yesterday:



Our ascent of Silver Basin on April 24 went right up the middle of that slide path. The photo was taken on Sunday 4/29.

Timing is everything. But where to draw the line?

Here's the original FB post. You can enlarge the photo there.
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Scotsman
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #4 on: 04/30/18, 10:04 PM »

Thats a bit sobering!
I was in the ski area on Sunday mainly for touring fitness training( it sure wasn't for the skiing).I stayed mainly on the groomers as the snow conditions were atrocious and snow was 6" of rain soaked mush.

Big wet slide down Powder Bowl crossing the cat-track.

Saw group of 4 putting a skintrack( or boot pack..couldn't see in the mist) up towards Throne shoulder..... hate to be that guy ... but they where all bunched together, no spacing and I certainly wouldn't go up there in those conditions. I guess their risk tolerance higher than mine.

Skier compaction and all that... but that area in Sliver Basin got skied hard after each storm and it still slid.....good warning for everybody not to get too complacent  touring in the Crystal ski area.

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rlsg
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #5 on: 05/01/18, 01:22 AM »





For several years, I've observed an informal ritual of touring at Crystal Mountain right after they close in spring. I like to tag a few high points, enjoy the spring views, and mark the closure of the lift skiing season.



Ross Freeman climbs toward Threeway Peak.

During my first trip in 2006, I tagged four peaks: Threeway, Silver King, Silver Queen, and the Summit House, an outing I called the Crystal Quartet.  I gradually added more summits, working up to six in 2017.  Realizing that I'd skipped only The Throne on previous trips, I decided to come back this year to link them all. 



Skiing the north flank of Silver King.

Ross Freeman suggested a ski day on Tuesday.  Since record temperatures were expected, with the first big warmup of the year, I suggested the Crystal circuit, on the theory that we could pass the most serious avalanche zones (from Threeway Peak to The Throne) before the snow got too soft.  This worked well and we were aided by strong east winds (averaging 20+ mph with gusts to 50+) that slowed the warmup.



Rest stop on The Throne.

We passed the boundary sign as we entered the Southback, happy that we could tour wherever we wanted today.  During the climb of Threeway Peak, I saw how treacherous the snowy rock on the upper ridge can be. A chunk of cornice fell away as I was passing, revealing a really nasty drop to the north. It reinforced for me that you shouldn't trust that snow, and climb only on the rock where the ridge narrows near the top.

Aside from the honking wind, our climbs and descents of Silver King and The Throne were pretty routine.  Once we descended to Campbell Basin, we knew we'd be traveling on snow that had been heavily skied all winter, so we had less concern about the sun baking it further.



Climbing above Campbell Basin to Silver Queen. Threeway Peak, Silver King and The Throne rise in the distance.

After descending Powder Bowl from the summit of Silver Queen, we encountered a pair of skiers, the only others we saw all day.  We continued to the Summit lodge, skied the upper part of Green Valley, climbed to Grubstake Peak and skied the north chute, and finished the septet by skiing the upper bowl of Northway Peak.

We traversed Paradise Bowl back to Snorting Elk basin, dropped into Green Valley, then climbed to Iceberg Ridge and descended to the base. Our round trip time was around 8 hours, with plenty of time to lounge on the peaks and enjoy the views.

isn't that new snow wind transport on a firmish base...suspect disparate snow conditions.. suspicious of adequate bonding.. careful spring seeming a little winter like then out come the sun or some other trigger?
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jtack
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #6 on: 05/01/18, 12:57 PM »

 Boy Lowell, talk about dodging a bullet, that thing would sure break your glasses!  Great tour, and your timing was perfect!
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dberdinka
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #7 on: 05/01/18, 04:14 PM »

Maybe not touring during the first significant warm up of the year is a good place to draw the line.   I'm sort of surprised at all the TRs from people that went out during what was a very significant warm up following a cool, wet late spring.   But to each their own.
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Scotsman
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Re: 4/24/2018 - The Crystal Septet
« Reply #8 on: 05/01/18, 08:24 PM »

Looks to me that one of the seasons weak layers got lubricated and slid.
Not sure it happened during the recent sunny spell. IMO it more likely happened during the following wet spell  at the end of last week and this weekend.
That’s what was worrying me when I saw people touring steep terrain this weekend with bad spacing protocols.

Pure conjecture.
Anybody know when it slid?
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Chairman and Founder of FOTAY( Friends of TAY)
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" Knows what he is talking about"
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