I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.
maadjurger is pissed off because his physical therapist wanted to see just how far he could go before his knee cracked after 5 weeks of improvement during physical therapy which resulted in maadjurguer picking the gauntlet up and throwing it back in said PT's face resulting in maadjurguers body and mind being so tired after the ride last night that he talked chollaball out of driving through the night for a ski trip thus missing the last window into the SNOWPACALYPSE which resulted in his soul being entombed in limbo in "One great big festering neon distraction" drinking a crappy bottle of Rhone while bitching at idiots on KPAC and drooling over friends reports of low angle face shots up north(here and here)...ohh yeah, almost forgot, my snow chains showed up today. That's just....GREAT!
Me, U2metoo and Dean did a recon on Allison Clay and her little sister yesterday to get a sense of things before the incoming Snow-pocalypse. I really wanted to get a good profile of whatever was about to be buried, so we set out a lollygaggin up the hill under toasty conditions and bluebird sky.
We were surprised when we got to the base of dutchmans to find a crevasse rescue in process....so we moved higher instead of gawking.
I had noticed quite a bit of frost south of town in the morning, and was able to observe just a touch of surface hoar in protected areas, but it was rapidly melting in the harsh sun.
I was disappointed to find a shoeshoe path roughly 8-10 feet wide up skiers left on upper dutchmans....be kind folks, single file so we can all enjoy the soft stuff....
Turning the corner on the ridge forming the southern boundary of Allison Clay, we peered into a platter of sastrugi and igneous irritants....
At this point, the typical wind/sun crust in exposed areas was prevalent with minor areas of dry protected powder in isolated areas. Traversing along contour, we found a reasonable N-facing slope to dig a pit. I wanted a representative N-facing slope that was fairly protected from the sun, observations here....
I was surprised at the low temps I found in the snow pack and was also surprised at the large temp gradient in the layer just under the surface. It's obvious that this was responsible for the faceting going on underneath, but it's my understanding that in a colder snowpack, <-10C, larger gradients are needed for equivalent facet growth found in a warmer snowpack....comments or clarifications? The wind slab firmly supported all of us on skis and was a bear to edge across, so much so that a slide for life was more of a concern than punching through...that and the spotty conditions. I'd speculate that if we get as much snow as is forecasted, this faceted layer may further weaken as it becomes insulated, raises in temp and faceted growth accelerates....comments, rotten vegetables? ECT resulted in nothing but a sore hand, impromptu shovel shear tests throughout the day also resulted in nothing.
Traversing across Allison Clay, we headed into the light and up onto the ridge separating Allison Clay and her little sister to the north. We peered over and found more of the same....
At this point, we descended through the trees on this ridge hoping to find some softer snow...which we did in spots, separated by some wind slab which made it sporty.... Skiing back down into Allison proper, we worked our way over the sastrugi and rocks....
....and traversed south back into the trees in search of some softer snow...which we found in the usual spots....
A fun and educational day. I'm still taking hard turns gingerly on my knee (as you can probably see on the video below). Powder is fine...but the hard pack really puts more strain on the supporting muscles around my IT band. At this point I think it may be more psychological than real as my PT is starting to wind down and it feels pretty strong now in general. Guess I just need to hang it out there and pin it to see if it'll hold. U2metoo did up two video's which I've embedded here....
I am! Check out the latest on El Nino for next week:
ALONG THE WEST COAST THERE ARE AT LEAST 3 TO 4 SURGES COMING INTO THE WEST COAST IN THE FAST PACIFIC FLOW THIS PERIOD EACH WITH ROUNDS OF HEAVY PRECIPITATION. AT THIS TIME THERE IS REASONABLE AGREEMENT ON THE SHORTWAVES EMBEDDED IN THE FLOW TO COME IN AROUND AT-SUN..MON..TUES AND ANOTHER THURS-FRI WITH MORE TO FOLLOW. MONDAYS SURGE HITS THE ENTIRE COAST FROM VANCOUVER SOUTH TO PT CONCEPTION BUT THEN AS THE HEIGHTS FALL AND THE JET CORE SHIFTS SOUTHWARD THE TARGET AREA WILL BE MORE INTO CENTRAL CA AND SOUTHERN CA TUESDAY ONWARD.
THIS EVENT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO APPROACH OR RIVAL THE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1998 EL NINO EVENT IN CENTRAL CA AND THE JANUARY 1995 TIME FRAME FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. QPF TOTALS FROM MODEL GUIDANCE ARE VERY HIGH WITH AN OVERALL RANGE OF 7- 12 LIQUID INCHES DURING THIS FORECAST PERIOD OVER COASTAL REGIONS/SIERRA. EXPECT CONSIDERABLY HIGHER AMOUNTS OVER A MULTIDAY PERIOD WITH 10-20 INCH MOUNTAIN AMOUNTS WITH EVEN HIGHER AMOUNTS OVER FAVORABLE TERRAIN. SIERRA MOUNTAIN SNOWS MAY BE IN THE 8-12 FOOT RANGE. AS THE JET CORE SHIFTS SOUTHWARD THE HEAVIER PRECIPITATION WILL BE MORE CONCENTRATED INTO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WHERE SIMILAR RAINFALL NUMBERS MAYBE OVER ESPECIALLY FAVORABLE TERRAIN. SOME LOCAL FAVORED TERRAIN AREAS WILL MOST LIKELY APPROACH "20" INCH LIQUID AMOUNTS DURING THIS PERIOD WITH THE EVENT "CONTINUING PAST OUR 7 DAY RANGE", YIELDING EVEN HIGHER TOTALS. VERY HEAVY SNOWS CAN BE EXPECTED OVER HIGHER TERRAIN AND A FLOODING/MUDSLIDE PROBLEMS APPEAR LIKELY. A HEAVY RAIN THREAT FOR ARIZONA APPEARS IN STORE THURSDAY INTO SATURDAY.
I know this will result in catastrophic footage of million dollar homes sliding into the ocean, people unable to drive home, lives changed.....yada, yada, yada.....whatever. For me this means snow...and lots of it here in AZ. I had the pleasure of working as a ski instructor at Mt. Lemmon north of Tucson for the 98 El Nino. We received 4 feet of snow in one 48 hr period. It started raining a, "Forest Gump in Nam" style rain in late January and did not let up for an entire month. The Rillito ran in a major way for 3 months straight....and I'm not talking a rivulet...I'm talking standing waves within a river, plowing through Tucson. I got so sick and tired of skiing, that I called in sick to work at the mountain....so I could go.....wait for it.....hiking, instead of skiing! That's some serious snow time to make me do that!
Giddy-up folks...it's time to sharpen those avy avoidance skills, get your wet ski wax on and have some fun.
Myself, morgaj4, gearjunkie, Claire, Bobby, Matt & Curtis did an IB traverse under bluebird and no wind on Saturday....
Topping out with extremely clear visibility all around us, we made our way to the ridgeline above Snowslide.
As the rest of the party joined, we started digging a pit just below ridgeline
Other than the normal depth hoar surrounding the boulders at base level, we were hard pressed to remember such a right side up profile and consistent temp profile.
Descending down the initial pitch of Snowslide, we quickly transitioned from sastrugi to light crust and then to some nice cream cheese....
Traversing north towards the core ridge side, we spotted a fading crescent moon just above ridgeline
Making the final transition to Snowslide gully, we encountered sun-softened sastrugi which was nice and creamy
After considering our options at the base of Snowslide, we did an about face and started the skin up to core ridge.
Cresting core ridge in the full sun, we took a break to eat some lunch.
Taking in the views to our north, I was struck by the amazing silence and stillness of the cirque. The only sound between us and the summit was that of a circling raven above.
Can you spot the millionaire?
Our view of the ridge looking eastward towards the painted desert.
After some lunch and some boisterous conversations regarding our desire for some lawn chairs and a hibachi, we continued the skin upwards.
The skin track was ideal with no icing or globbing to be found
Topping out at 11,700, we pulled skins and planned our 2nd descent of the day.
Gearjunkie mit schlage
Paparazzi lining up for Bobbies waltz down the catwalk
After a longer descent, we traversed over to waterline to check out how the aspen glades were fairing. The eye of the tiger had blessed us with a settled pack and covered conditions, so we skinned up to the top of the glade for our 3rd descent of the day.
Turning to the west at the top of the glade, I snapped a pic of Humprey's and the day's mantra....
Ending up the traverse on the east side, we did some bootless celebration.
A great day in all with great company, stellar conditions and a wonderful snowpack.