January 4, 2009

Cold Max

Robb & I went back up Max's, thinking it would be relatively warm there. By the time we skinned to the alpine, there was no inversion, but there was a stiff breeze.

We skinned up and over Baumann's Bump and skied down to the Virgin Creek headwaters where it was shaded and COLD. Max's weather station on Baumann's Bump registered 7-below and 11 mph gusts while we were there which was tolerable, but down in the Virgin Creek valley was really cold. No wind, but really cold. This time is was Robb's turn to have a total skin failure, not good given we needed to climb out of the ice box into the sunshine. We tried taping the skins, but the tape had less stickum than the skins to no avail. It was much less bothersome to me for Robb's skins to fail than for my own skins to fail like they did a few days ago.

Skin failure or not, we had to get back home, so off we went down the valley, Robb breaking most of the way on a traverse track. We happened upon a few ravines to cross, a couple which were spooky terrain traps with a punchy snowpack, and we finally made it back to the up track and skied down through the forest to Timberline Drive.

The snowpack was surprisingly thin on the south-facing slopes, with sloughs running to ground.

Wearing virtually everything I brought, still got cold hands, cold feet, and frozen water in my pack.

Max's weather station. This place sees some extremely high winds, but today it was just plain cold and breezy.

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