Craig's Report - January 16, 2006

Quick Pictureless Update

I wasn�t going to do a report today, but it has changed so much since Friday I thought a quick update might be in order. The rain I mentioned at the end of Friday�s report continued through Saturday on the lower mountain, while the heavy wet snow up top ensured avalanche closures just about everywhere. Even Falling Star was closed at the first flats down from the chair. Sunday brought colder temperatures and they did manage to open the Knot Chutes and the area below it, including the Surprize trees and I am sure the folks who scored first tracks in there had a great run. Needless to say it didn�t take long on a Sunday with very little open terrain for it to become well used.

Farther down the previous days wet snow had of course become icy. About the top third of Bear was okay and this meant you could almost make it down to the top of the Cruiser cat track from Cedar Ridge before running into the truly awful stuff. It was much the same today and as I flew over him on the chair I overheard one poor sot on the Punji Chutes refer to it as �XXXXing horrid� to his companion. This seemed a fair assesment to me.

The groomed runs were hard and fast, but generally yielded to an aggressive edge, although a few spots seemed to be comprised of congealed diamond. White Pass remained quite soft with just the odd slick spot emerging near the bottom.

They tried heli bombing this morning, but visibility prevented them from getting to the top of the ridges and Currie, Lizard and Cedar other than Cedar Ridge, remain closed. I doubt anyone is pressuring the patrol about opening things given the numerous large avalanches that have occurred and of course the tragic death of an Island Lake employee on Saturday. As I understand it, she was checking a snow plot around 7:00 AM in an forested area about 1.5 km from the lodge. A large avalanche that I heard described as a one hundred year event, came off Mt. Baldy and ran uphill to the snow plot.

Yesterday afternoon another sizable slide came down in Lizard and ran to the top of China Wall. This was all in closed terrain and it made the need for all those closure signs even more apparent as well as the need for everyone to honor them.

At 16:00 it is -3 C on the porch and snowing.

P.S. on the 18th my ISP is changing my IP addresses, it might a bit dodgy accessing this site for a while after that.

Filler picture from the front porch.