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Author Topic: May 1, 2008, Snoqualmie Contrails  (Read 6247 times)
Charlie Hagedorn
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May 1, 2008, Snoqualmie Contrails
« on: 05/01/08, 10:33 AM »

Will and I moseyed up to the Pass this morning in hopes that April showers had indeed brought May powder. T'was true, though we didn't find quite as much as had been reported by Cornfed et. al. yesterday - things may have settled a little.

Snow: Open shady patches in the trees, particularly up higher, held the goods. We moseyed as high as ~4800+' and found as much as ~1' of cold light snow atop an edgeable crust. Snow was good down to pass level, though the crust down low was soft and wet. Open sunny W-facing exposures had soft breakable crust. The new wasn't terribly well bonded with the old, but it was quite unconsolidated. Sluffs, even on moderately steep terrain (~40+ish degrees) didn't propagate much.

La Nina's being quite good to us.
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hankj
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Re: May 1, 2008, Snoqualmie Contrails
« Reply #1 on: 05/02/08, 04:05 PM »

I was poking around at the Pass yesterday too, at Alpental, and the AVALANCHE conditions seemed pretty scary to me.  I always admit I'm miles from an expert but here is what I saw:

There is a lot of wet heavy snow.

As it heated there were a lot of tree bombs dropping, and decent-sized pinwheels here and there.

here and there there was rubble and little shallow "beds" where many, many small, shallow (a few inches) wet snow slides had slide in terrain that might have been less than 30 degrees steep.

I didn't dig much but probed quite a bit and the layer bondind the new snow to the old felt pretty hollow in places.

At about 12 noon a slough came of the big cliff at Alpy.  It was big enough that I first noticed it by hearing it, all the way at the base area.  It triggered a bigger wet snow slide where it fell onto Lower Iinternational, but it wasn't really big or deep and didn't run far, maybe 30 yards.

At around 1:15 I heard a much bigger sounding, deep rumbling slide somewhere on the far side of Mt. Snoqualmie.  I couldn't see it, but sure could hear it.  It went on for quite a while, and had a deep base sound.  this was as a group of skiers was coming off the Alpy road side of Mt. Snoqualmie, but it wasn't near them -- much farther back.

All that said, I SAW no evidence of slabs, or of the whole layer of new snow sliding.
« Last Edit: 05/03/08, 09:24 AM by hankj » Logged
Jerm
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Re: May 1, 2008, Snoqualmie Contrails
« Reply #2 on: 05/02/08, 05:22 PM »

I  was in a group coming down the Phantom around that time, I think there may have been another group ahead of us. You may have heard the rather large pile of wet snow I was able to send crashing over the cliffs in the waterfall area (after checking to see that nobody was below, of course).  It made a nice satisfying roar as it filled up a small moat. The top few inches on that side was sliding with some encouragement on the steeper pitches. Lots of slow moving natural activity where stuff falling off trees and  cliffs triggered point releases. But all of it seemed confined to the new snow, which varied from over a foot on the high south facing stuff on Snoqualmie, to maybe  6-8"  over a crust in the Crooked. Despite that crust and glop lower on the Phantom, we managed to enjoy ourselves skiing powder on May 1.
« Last Edit: 05/02/08, 05:27 PM by Jerm » Logged
Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: May 1, 2008, Snoqualmie Contrails
« Reply #3 on: 05/02/08, 06:23 PM »

I can easily imagine that, with daytime heating, the cold and light snow we encountered could've turned malevolent - the bond to the crust wasn't good. We found nothing spooky, only unconsolidated stuff atop crust, but we were back at the car by 8:30 am.

Icy tree bombs had fallen sometime early in the week and drove deep trenches into what must have been the warm base layer as they slid downhill. Neat.
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prestonf
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Re: May 1, 2008, Snoqualmie Contrails
« Reply #4 on: 05/02/08, 07:37 PM »

All that nice powder had a horrible breakable crust on top of it when we came down The International at 8pm.  That coupled with all the wet slide debris from the cliffs made for some of the worst snow I've ever ridden  Cry.  The sunset was nice though  Cool.
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hankj
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Re: May 1, 2008, Snoqualmie Contrails
« Reply #5 on: 05/03/08, 09:30 AM »

I  was in a group coming down the Phantom around that time, I think there may have been another group ahead of us. You may have heard the rather large pile of wet snow I was able to send crashing over the cliffs in the waterfall area (after checking to see that nobody was below, of course).  It made a nice satisfying roar as it filled up a small moat. The top few inches on that side was sliding with some encouragement on the steeper pitches. Lots of slow moving natural activity where stuff falling off trees and  cliffs triggered point releases. But all of it seemed confined to the new snow, which varied from over a foot on the high south facing stuff on Snoqualmie, to maybe  6-8"  over a crust in the Crooked. Despite that crust and glop lower on the Phantom, we managed to enjoy ourselves skiing powder on May 1.

I was watching you guys when I heard the slide and didn't see anything, near you, but maybe!  It looked to me like you were all skiiing when it happened, and it really sounded like it was on the other side of the mountain, but as we all know sound is tricky in the mountains.  Anyway it looked like your group was having a whole lot of fun!  Must have been a nice ski.
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