Thursday, December 24, 2009

xmas eve hellroaring report

alright.  nice comments and discussion

i really like the parking lot volunteer idea.  and maybe opening up a portion of the cedar lot to non paying public. maybe by 11 am instead of noon.  but too much on parking. i get it. 

greg.  i have been trying hard to not go off in a rant against the usfs and the avalanche center.  two weekly advisories is a joke.  as plan as that.  what would it take to get more.  money.  who can raise the money. well, gcac, but the problem starts at the top.  figure out the rest. 
if the nordic could somehow get involved, that would be great.  part of my reason to start this, was to get input from local skiers and backcountry advocates out to the general public.  the more informed opinions and information we all have, the better we will all be.  let's talk!

ted and all else.  great comments.  please read them.  wear your beacons regardless of who or how many are skiing.  i went to the slide on Hellroaring to check it out and ski a bit.  the skier, who until he is ready, will remain unidentified.  but he is a well known long time ski bum. he was skiing alone, and i do not know if he had any gear on him.  my guess would be NO. my belief is he is extremely lucky, as he could easily be buried.  i hope he gains some perspective, respect and humility from the event. but i might again say, my guess is NO.   i ran into tony willets from the usfs avalanche center while there.  the slope angle at the point of release was approximately 38 degrees.  open slope with few anchors.  sound like a problem slope? 
it was approximately 50 meters wide, but fractured another 50 meters that did not slide.  so is there hangfire?  YES!  it released on the november 28th (or thanksgiving) rain layer, and even propogated below this into the faceted junk and another week layer below. 

i was hoping the snow might be starting to bridge over this ice layer, but it has not.  the skiing was fun, but it IS dangerous.  and now we are having cold clear weather for a while.  already surface hoar frost is forming.  on a fairly solid base of snow.  more to think about with future snowfall.  and the chances of failures of new snowpack stepping down to other weak layers is high. 

i dug a small pit at the top of hellroaring, on the north face.  it is only about 120 cm deep.  and a compression test failed on the first test from the shoulder. cth 21. but it went on the ice layer.  about 70cm down.  i imagine an extended column test would indicate progation. 

so, as ted and i continue to say. be SUPER careful.  travel with a solid group.  use the assessment triagle ted mentions.  and avoid open, step slopes with few or no anchors.

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