January 23, 2011

Change of Direction

Pyramid looked so good in the sunshine yesterday, but as we peered into a black hole at the end of Turnagain Arm, we questioned the wisdom of our decision of its pursuit.  The 40 mph gusts on Sunburst at 7 a.m. with an increasing trend disuaded DP and yours truly from pursuing Pyramid on this day. 

Reversing our decision and our track toward Pyramid, we turned around at Beluga Point and headed toward Hatcher Pass where the anemometer on Marmot indicated only 20 mph gusts.  Thank goodness for wireless internet via cell phone - it provided the key information in our decision to turn and run from the big storm.

You can run, but you cannot hide from a storm like this one.  Though it was less intense than the peak 78 mph midday gusts recorded on Sunburst, the wind blew all day on 4068 and Govt Peak gradually increasing over the course of the day, but there was a fresh 4-6" since Geno and I visited on Friday, 21-Jan that remained relatively untouched below the brushline.  Skies were grey.  Temperatures were in the 20's.

We heard the snow settle in a few places on the southeast-facing slopes southwest of 4068, and noticed some small natural releases near the bottom of the valley at wind lips just above the creek, but stable snow with good skiing on the SE-facing slopes.  The wind on "Frostbite" was blew all day out of the south, and loaded the north-facing lee with soft slabs that ski cut with crowns up to 2 feet thick and run-outs of hundreds of vertical feet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great info on Frostbite.
I steered away from the northerly aspects today knowing they were loaded and ready.
I did ski microdot S aspect and got shooting cracks in the form of crowns with flanks [40-50 feet wide] just above the ground facets. Had there been more energy they would have slid. Interesting observations I thought.
Stab tests ECTN and CT24 Q2 on ground advanced facets on 25 degrees, west, 3500'. Don't do the danger justice.
Soft slabs were building due to wind deposition throughout the day.
No natural avys observed. No human triggered.