Craig's Report - November 16, 2006

Only a Flesh Wound

When the last big rain storm blew through B.C. less than two weeks ago, it stripped all the snow off the mountain from the top of Bear down. Thus it was less than reassuring to hear yesterday that the coast was once again being battered by torrential downpours and big winds and the forecast for the valley was lots of rain and wind. Well the rain and wind did come last night, but the hill largely escaped with only some flesh wounds to its tender bottom bits. That is at least in terms of coverage, for I doubt there was anywhere on the hill today, except perhaps up on White Pass, where the skiing would have been enjoyable.

The line where the trees became white was about half way up Bear and I went a little bit above that, but even two thirds of the way up Bear there was a significant rain crust and appeared far from enjoyable for skiing. It was plentiful and pretty though. The crust got thicker as you descended, until down by the Bear�s Den it had thickened into the shin snapping, pole hooking variety. I discovered this by unwisely choosing to walk down Elk and was most grateful to encounter relief in the form of a groomed track down by the top of Holo Hike.

Below the bottom of the Bear Chair, the rain damage is more immediately visible and instead of crust, the ungroomed snow is more of a wet meringue. This came up to my shins down as far as where Power Trip crosses Cedar Trail, but the groomed areas are somewhat gritty. Still the hill is in not bad shape for this point in the preseason and perhaps only one good storm, of the snow variety, away from being in decent shape for opening.

The hill had conveniently groomed a path up Ballet and Sun Up, perhaps to entice hikers to stay out of the now potentially hazardous avalanche paths in Lizard Bowl. Further incentive was provided by a �closed� sign near the bottom of Arrow and the standard pre season avalanche warning sign down at the base area. There is of course no regular pre-season avalanche control and this is their attempt to warn eager newcomers of the very real danger that can exist.

At 16:40 the sky is now quite clear and it is 1 C at the house.

It looks nice, but there is that crust. On Bear with the Bear Ridge run in the back ground.

Looking up Bear from the same spot.

Peeking out over Sunnyside into Lizard Bowl, from Sun Up.

The Bear�s Den seems to already have sufficient snow.

Bear from the Bear�s Den.

My crust battered shins were glad to find this groomed path on Elk.

The bottom of the Bear Chair. This far down things are still a bit gritty.

Despite the rain shin deep snow survives on lower Power Trip.

Down by the base area the rain bit somewhat harder, but it is still mainly white.