Friday, December 31, 2010

Freeman Peak - December 30th 2010

Freeman Peak skiing was exceptional today!

We observed numerous D1-D1.5 (small) size crown fractures from the instability cycle that resulted after yesterday storm. Most of the fractures were in terrain features with slope angles in the neighborhood of 36 degrees. Stability evaluation in the area we skied suggested: 'Easy' triggering (CTE), with moderate slip likehood results (Q2), and no evidence of propagation. However, be aware that fracture propagation tests are questionable under soft slab conditions. 

In addition, after a brutal team effort in trail breaking, none of us observed any fracture/crack, propagation, or wumpfs -NO evidence at all of instabilities. Hand pits at various elevations confirmed same results as the snow pit results - the new snow is bonding very well at Freeman on the elevation range (5900-7200 feet) we skied today. But CTEQ2 (X2) results remind us of being vigilant through-out the day, and avoid snow that has become cohesive or "slabby".

Today's moderate winds did not affected the skiing or snow below the 7200 feet with NE and E aspects. The snow at ridge tops developed windslabs, but the wind was loading the SE & S aspects. The only time we observed any evidence of propagation potential was 20 meters or so below an Easterly aspect ridge line with cross-loading. We avoided those pillows.

By the way - it is hard to believe but the recent rain/melt crust is buried 90-100 cm down! Last time I skied Mores Creek Summit Area (Lamar Headwaters) there were 30 cm of pow above the crust, thus at mid elevations the latest storm left behind up to 60 cm of NEW snow.


PS: Erik, Rick, Andy - it was a pleasure to meet you today! THANKS for helping with the trail breaking.