Sunday, November 30, 2014

11/29/14 Cold Clear and Sunny Hiking

Dan Scanlon photo
           The recent storms in the area had dumped precipitation on the mountains like whipped cream on a slanted pumpkin pie! If only Mother Nature could have kept it in the sweet spot a little longer. The freezing level rose Wednesday and soared through the heart of the storm.   Six inches of rain fell and decimated the snow pack. The proverbial "arctic fart we were yearning for was too late! Temperatures dropped rapidly in the tailing wisps of the storm clouds and the rain turned to champagne powder! We were all excied to see the effects on the Cascade Mountains

Climbing the ladder
                Jeremy drove us up the mountain and we parked outside the gate at the lower lodge. The lot was cleared and we were hoping for some of the “magic” that had aided us on the last outing. No such luck today- we had to earn it! Chair 7 was rolling as we made our way up the cat track but not for us. As we made it to the “Gut” we saw some Patrollers out fixing rope lines. They reminded us to be careful and that the coverage was very thin. We thanked them and continued the same route we had utilized previously.    
            The hike took an extra 75 minutes because we were blazing a boot pack trail.  Near the top of chair 8 we started to get cold. The temp was around 6 degrees F and the wind was biting.  My face burned and my fingers hurt from carrying my board as we made our way out of the ski resort and up towards Hemispheres. We were climbing straight up through deep cold snow using the snow on the cliffside like a ladder. The area was heavily wind-affected; in some areas it was scoured down to rock and then 10 feet away the snow was so
deep you couldn’t get a good step. The last straw was two small natural debris piles we saw on the next two pitches. We decided to play it safe and ride down from there!
                The snow was champagne powder and the coverage was minimal. We exercised good decision-making on the way down, avoiding creeks like cranberry sauce on Turkey Day. Opting for the fat of the land, our mellow lines were smooth and free of rocks. Great sunlight! Fun day!

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